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C. A. KINCAID, i.cs. 
(author of the "outlaws of kathiawar.") 








The Tale of The Tnlsi Plant 1 

The Tale of the Shami Tree .^ 9 

The Story of the Bel Plant 18 


In Old Mahableshwar 25 

A Forgotten Battlefield 84 

TheBakharoftheDabhades 43 

The Bakbar of Pilaji Gaikvad 55 

To Mahnli by Motor 67 

The Fort at Sholapnr 78 

Parvati of the Peshwas 86 

A Portuguese Lady at the Moghul Court ... 96 

The Peshwas of Poena 106 

In the Court of the younger Madhavrao 128 

A Marathi Comedy 145 

Mahashivratra Day 158 


The Sayings of Kathiawar 164 

The Sayings of the Deocan 171 

The Sayings of the Parsis 178 

The Sayings of the Musulmans 186 







As nearly all the ensuing sketches have 
already appeared in the Times of India and 
are reproduced with the kind permission 
of its editor, no preface is really required. 
Since, however, the article on Marathi pro- 
verbs gave, when published, some offence to 
Deccani readers, I take this opportunity 
of assuring them that the suggestion that 
Maharashtra meant the country of the Mhars 
(Mahar rashtra) was not mine at all. It 
may be found at p. xxiii of the Preface 
to Molesworth's Dictionary- I am glad, 
however, to state that my old and valued 
friend the Honourable Dr. Bhandarkar, 
CJ.E., has convinced me that Molesworth's 
derivation must on philological grounds be 
incorrect. I have therefore rewritten the 
latter half of the said article, The other 
articles are practically unaltered. 

C. A. K. 

^' La mnraOle ohinoise que rignoranoe ayait Aev^e • • 
• • s'abaisse de plus en plus. Quand elle aura disparu, 
on sera bien ^tonn^ de d^oonvrir que derriere il yavait tant 
de braves gens. L'oenvre de demolition est commeno^e 
depnis longtemps. En donnant ces pages de men journal 
dcrites snr le sol memo de I'ile inconnne j'y vais de mon 
petit oonp de marteau." 

Pierre de Conlevain. 

(L'ile inconnne.) 


I DABE Bay that it has often happened that a 
yonng Englishman riding past an Indian's honse 
has seen a small plant growing in a pot just oppo- 
site the door and has enquired its name. The 
answer has heen that it is the Tulsi, a plant sacred 
to Vishnn. If inourious, this answer has satisfied 
the questioner. If curious to probe into the secrets 
of the world around him, he will have returned 
home and searched for the word Tulsi in Moles- 
worth's dictionary. Therein it is written that the 
Tulsi is the Basil plant or ^* Ocymum Sanctum." 
If Basil be traced in the leaves of Webster, the 
searcher will learn that Basil is derived from the 
Greek word basilikon, meaning kingly, and that 
the Basil plant has in France been styled la plante 
royale and in Germany the hdnig^s kraut. The 
next stage will be a pursuit for the Greek words 
basilikon dendron in the pages of Liddell and Scott ; 
but here the pursuit will be vain for the term was 
unknown in classical Greece. As it is not unlikely 
that no fiirther clue will be forthcoming, I have 


ventured to write the present article in the hope of 
throwing some light on the subject. 

By the kindness of a friend * I have been supplied 
with two extracts which show that in Italy and in 
Greece the Basil plant was credited with certain 
strange occult properties. In the second part of 
the Secrets of Alexis of Piedmont, translated by 
W. Ward, 1563, there is this entry : — 

'^ To make a woman shall eate of nothing that is 
set upon the table. Take a little greene Basill and 
when men bring the dishes to the table put it 
underneth them, yet the woman perceive it not, for 
men saye that she will eate of none of that which 
is in the dish whereunder the Basill lieth.'' 

In " The Cyclades *' by P. Bent there occurs the 
following passage ; — 

" I have frequently realized how much prized the 
Basil is in Greece for its mystic properties. The 
herb, which they say grew on Christ's grave, is 
almost worshipped in the Eastern Church. On 
St. Basil's Day women take sprigs of this plant to 
be blessed in Church. On returning home they cast 
more on the floor of the house to secure luck for 
the ensuing year. They eat a little with their 
household, and no sickness, they maintain, will 
attack them for a year. Another bit they put in 
the cupboard and firmly believe that their embroi- 
deries and silken raiment will be free from the visita- 
tion of rats, mice and moths for the same period." 

* Mr. 8. M. EdwardfiB, I.C3. 


We find too a reference to the Basil in Keat's 
" Isabella." Therein, it will be remembered, that 
IsabeUa after exhuming the murdered Larenzo's 
head : — 

'*(She) wrapped it up i and for its tomb did choose 
A garden pot, wherein she laid it by 
And coYered it with mould, and o^er It aet 
Sweet Basil, which her t^ars kept ever wet.**^ 

But as neither classical Greece nor Rome can 
help us to explain the origin of the Tulsi's or 
Basil's sanctity let us return to India. And here 
we shall not be disappointed. For this is the tale 
that is told in the Pad ma Purana by Naradmuni ^ 
to King Prithuraj. Oue day when Indra went to 
seek for Shiva in K»ilas, his heaven, Indra saw no 
one except a man of terrifying aspect, of whom 
he asked whither Shiva had gone. The man 
stood silent, although Indra repeated several times 
the question. Then Indra grew angry and hurled 
at him his thunderbolt. The man disappeared 
and in his place stood Shiva, who was so wroth 
that to save Indra's life Brabaspati, the priest of 
the gods, had to throw himself at Shiva's feet, 
and thus obtain Indra's life as a boon« But the 
lightning, that in Shiva's wrath had to kill ;;Jndra 
flashed from his third eye could not return whence 
it came, so Shiva, that Indra might not be struck, 
hurled it into the sea where the Ganges meets 

* Naradmnni was the son of Brabmadev, and as the tale shows the 
mischief maker of the gods. The word is even now need as a synonym 
for a misohief maker. In this tale, as I have no Sanskrit, I am in- 
debted to a translation kindly made for me from the Sanskrit into 
Marathi by Shastri Moreshwar DikBbit of Poena. 


it. And of the union of that lightoing with 
Ocean a boy was bom whom Brahmadev caught 
up to himself and to whom he ga^e the name of 
Jalandhar or Seanseized. And to him Brahmadev 
gave the boon that by no hand but Shiva's could 
he perish. Jalandhar grew up strong and tall 
and conquered the kings of the earth and in due 
time married Vrinda, the daughter of the demon 
Kalnemi And under the rule of Jalandhar the 
demons, who had been by the gods driven into 
hell, came forth and urged Jalandhar to make 
war on them. And by Rahu*, his messenger, 
Jalandhar ordered Indra to hand over the jewels 
which had sprung from the churning of Ocean. 
But Indra refased saying that Ocean had sheltered 
the enemies of the gods and that, therefore, they 
had rightly churned Ocean and had robbed him of 
his jewels. 

So Jalandhar and the demons fought Indra and 
the gods in the forest of Nandan, and as the gods 
fell Brahaspati revived them with the nectar plant 
that grew on the slopes of Dronadri. But Jalan- 
dhar hurled Dronadri into the sea and the terrified 
gods fled for shelter into the caves that pierce the 
sides of Suwarna or the gold mountain. Then 
the gods prayed to Vishnu and he came forth to 
rescue them, but against Jalandhar Vishnu's 

thunderbolts were harmless because of the boon 

* Baha was the messenger of the demons. Originally a Mang by 
oaste, his bead was cat off by Vishnu. Raha and Eetu, the severed 
part of him, now amuse themselyes by swallowing the Sun and Moon 
and so causing Eclipses. 


granted by Brahmadev. And Jalandhar with his 
mace smote Vishnu's eagle so that it reeled and 
Vishnu stayed the fight and granted Jalandhar a 
boon. And he asked Vishnu to bring Laxmi and 
live with him on earth in his place. Vishnu per- 
force consented and Jalandhar ruled as undisputed 
lord of the three worlds. The rain fell at the 
appointed times, poverty was unknown, the ryots 
lived freed alike from misery and sickness*, and 
all but the gods rejoiced under the sway of Jalan- 
dhar. But Naradmuni, the mischief maker, went 
to his court. He saluted Naradmuni and asked 
him whence he came. He replied that he had 
come from Kailas where he had seen Shiva and 
Parvati and herds of Kamdhenus, or Cows that 
grant desires, and forests of Kalpavriksh, or trees 
that fulfil wishes, and masses of Chintamanis or 
the jewels that bestow favours, and that he had 
come to see whether in the three worlds there 
was any wealth like that of Shiva or any beauty 
like that of Parvati. And in this wise Naradmuni 
stirred up hatred against Shiva in Jalandhar and 
he sent by Bahu a message calling on him to hand 
over his wife and wealth, and covering himself 
with ashes to live for ever in the burning ground. 
Then Shiva was exceedingly wroth and from his 
eyebrow there came forth a terrible shape with a 
man's body and a lion's face. It ran to eat up 
Bahu, but Shiva, as he was a herald, saved him 

* The writer regucto JAlandbar^s mle merely as a change of 


and ordered the shape to eat up its own arms and 
legs. And then to console it Shiva granted it the 
boon of being always at the door of his temples 
and gave it the name of Eirtimukh or Fameface.* 
But he sent Rahn with a scornful answer back to 
Jalandhar and he and 8hiva fought each other on 
the slopes of Kailas. 

But even Shiva coald not prevail against Jalan- 
dhar so long as his wife Vrinda remained chaste. 
So Vishnu, who had lived with her and Jalandhar 
and had learnt this secret, plotted her downfall. 
One day when she, sad at Jalandhar's absence, 
had left her gardens to walk in the waste beyond, 
two demons met her and pursued her. She ran 
yrith the demons following until she saw a Bishi 
at whose feet she fell and asked for shelter. The 
Bishi with his magic burnt up the demons into thin 
ash. Vrinda then asked him for news of her hus- 
band. At once two apes laid before her Jalandhar's 
head, feet and hands. Vrinda, thinking that he 
was dead, begged the Bishi to restore him to her. 
The Bishi said that he woold try, and in a moment 
he and the corpse had disappeared and Jalan- 
dhar stood by her. She threw herself into his 
arms and they embraced each other. But eome 
days later she learnt that he with whom she 
was living was not her husband, but Vishnu who 
had taken his shape. And she cursed Vishnu and 
foretold that in a later Avatar the two demons, 

• This Eirtimukh is still carved cm the door ol the Shivaite 


who had frightened her, would rob him of his 
wife ; and that to recover her he should have to 
ask the aid of the apes who had brought Jalan- 
dhar's head, feet and hands. Vrinda then threw 
herself into a burning pit. And Jalandhar, onoe 
Vrinda' s chastity had gone, fell a prey to Shiva's 
thunderbolts. Then the gods came forth from 
their hiding place and garlanded Shiva. The 
demons were driven back to hell and men once 
again passed under the tyranny of the gods. 
But Vishnu came not back from Vrinda's palace, 
and those who sought him found him mad for 
grief, rolling in her ashes. Then Parvati, to 
break the charm of Vrinda's beauty, planted in 
her ashes three seeds. And they grew into three 
plants, the Tulsi, the Avali and theMalti, and by the 
growth of these seeds Vishnu was released ftom 
Vrinda's charm. Therefore, he loved them all, 
but chiefly the Tulsi plant, which, as he said, was 
Vrinda's very self. Yet was her curse fulfilled. 
For the Avatars of Vishnu were these : Matsya 
or the fish, Kurma or the tortoise, Varaha or iJxe 
boar, Narasinh or the lion, Waman or the dwarf, 
Parashurama or the lord of the axe, and then 
Ramchandra the world conqueror. 

In this 7th incarnation the two demons, who 
had frightened Vrinda, became Ravan and his 
brother Kumbhakarna. And they bore away Sita 
to Lanka. And to recover her Etamchandra had 
to implore the help of the two apes who had 
brought her Jalandhar's head and hands, and in 


this incaruation they became Hanuman and his 
warriors. But in the 8th incarnation which was 
that of Krishna, the Tolsi plant took the form ^ of a 
woman Radba, and as snch wedded on Eartik Sad 
twelfth, the gay and warlike lord of Dwarka. And 
thus it is, when the Indian nights grow crisp with 
the coming cold, the women from the fuUmoon of 
Ashwina to the fuUmoon of Eartik light high 
above their houses the Akashdiwa or heavenly 
lamp, and so celebrate the wedding of Erishna*^ 
and Radha and the reconciliation of Vishnu with 
the demon-lady whom he wronged. Good luck 
attends the house of her who waters the Tulsi 
plant and the worship of Vishnu is incomplete, 
unless the Tulsi plant is placed on the black 
Shaligram stone which, picked up in the bed of 
the Gandak river, is regarded as the symbol of 
the godhead. 

Lastly, the comic element is not wholly absent 
for when in Marathi one wishes to say that one 
must sometimes do evil that good may come, it is 
best expressed by the saying ** tulsiche mulant 
kauda lavaval^ato ^* (One must place an onion 
in the root of the Tulsi plant). While an un- 
worthy son of a noble father {patris herai JUius 
degener) is styled bhang growing in a Tulsi (to 
tulshint bhang ahe^ 

The tlory go«i«b%l U OKl^f Ki f«al«Mi^ h\» jkmuMw) !»<>»«»» hi» foster 


In my last chapter I gave my readers the 
story of the Tulsi plaat. I now venture to put 
before them the legends that have gathered round 
the Shami tree or Mimosa Suma, a big thorny tree 
not unlike the babul. One may see it both in the 
Deccan and in Kathiawad and in the latter pro- 
vince rags are often tied to it as votive oflFerings. 
The first legend which is that of its metamor- 
phosis from a young girl is given in Chapter 33 of 
the Kridakand from the latter half of the Ganesh- 
purana. One day when Naradmuni* was walking 
up and down the three worlds he came to Indra's 
capital, Amraoti. Indra rose and saluted, and in 
the course of their talk asked Naradmuni whether 
he knew and, if so, he would tell him the story of 
Aurava, the Rishi. And Narad told him the fol- 
lowing tale : ^* Once upon a time there lived in 
Malva a Brahman named Aurava, who was ripe 
with the learning of the Vedas. His face shone 
like the sun and his knowledge was such that all 

* My readers will remember that Naradmuni ie the mischief 
maker of the gods. It was he who tempted Jalandhar to make war on 


gold to him was dross and all that his mind willed 
he could do, for he could create, cherish or destroy 
as he listed. By his wife, Sameghan, he had bom 
to him late in life a beautiful daughter, called 
Shami, to whom he gave all her heart's desire. 
When she was seven years old, he wedded her to 
the Rishi Dhoumya's son, Mandar, who lived and 
studied with a preceptor, named Shaunak. After 
their wedding the girl and boy parted until they 
had reached the fulness of youth. Then Mandar 
went to the house of Aurava the Rishi, and taking 
Shami from her father's house, set forth with her 
to the house of Shaunak, his guru. On the road 
they passed by the house of a mighty Rishi or 
sage, called Bhrushundi. He was the untiring 
worshipper of Ganpati and by his austerities he 
had won from the god the boon that he also might 
grow a trunk from his forehead. When Shami 
and Mandar saw the trunk-faced sage they burst 
out laughing, and he in anger cursed them. And 
the curse was that they should become trees from 
which even animals turned away. And so Man- 
nar became the Mandar tree, whose leaves no 
beast will eat, and Shami the Shami tree on whose 
thorns no bird may rest. Some days passed and 
the guru Shaunak anxious that Shami and Man- 
dar tarried went in search of them. He went 
first to the house of the sage Aurava and heard 
that they had left it. Then Aurava and Shaunak 
searched everywhere until they came to the her- 
mitage of Bhrushundi and learnt of the curse that 


liad befallen Mandar and bis bride. The two old 
men then practised suoh terrible austerities in 
Oanpati's honour that he revealed himself to them, 
10 cubits high and riding on a lion. They beg- 
ged of him as a boon that he should restore to them 
Shami and Mandar. But the god feared to dis- 
please his disciple Bhrushundi and granted them 
instead that the two trees should be honoured 
throughout the three worlds and that neither 
Shiva's nor his own worship should be complete 
without their presence. When the god vanished 
Shaunak went his way, but Aurava in despair left 
his mortal covering and became the fire which 
lies hidden within tho trunk of the Shami tree." 

Such was the tale told by Naradmuni to Indra, 
bat to this day when sacrifices are burnt in the 
temples of Shiva and Ganpati, their priests rub 
together pieces of the Shami tree and the hidden 
fire within it leaps out and kindles the sacrifice.^ 
And no worship is complete without the Shami 
leaves and the Mandar flowers being present 
on the altar. 

A second and later legend and one which 
is better known connects the Shami tree with the 
famous Pandav brothers. Students of the Ma- 
habharata will remember how Yudhishthira, 
tempted by Naradmuni to perform the Bajsuya, 
incurred the envy of his cousin Duryodhana ; how 
Duryodhana to gratify his jealousy played with 
Shakuni's aid at dice with Yudhishthira ; how 

* This may be seen at any temple of Shiva. 


Yndhishthira lost all he possessed, kiDgdom, 
wealth, wife and brothers ; how Duryodhana's 
father, Dhritarashtra, gave them to him all back, 
and, lastly, how the infatuated Pandav again 
gambled with Duryodhana and had to pay as for- 
feit twelve years^ residence in the woods with his 
wife and brothers and then a thirteenth year of 
disguise in a distant country. If the disguise were 
penetrated the Panda vs were to stay another twelve 
years in exile. When the first twelve years, those 
of the forest life, had passed, the Pandavs with 
Draupadi cast about where the thirteenth year 
should be spent and they fixed on Viratnagar,* 
the modern Wai, where the temples are still 
mirrored in the waves of the Krishna. And 
Yndhishthira disguised himself as a gambler and 
Bhima as a cook and Arjuna as a eunuchf and 
Nakula as a groom, and Sahadeva as a milkman 
and lastly Draupadi as a waiting woman. And at 
the Court of King Virata, they dwelt until the 
years of exile were over. But before assuming 
their disguises the Pandavs hid their weapons in- 
side a Shami tree. Here let me give a translation 
of the original passagej:. 

* This name is preserved in Vairat fort close to Wai. 

t Arjana was condemned to be a ennncb because he slighted the 
beauty of Urwashl Indra'^s queen. 

X I have not translated from the Sanbkrit but from Meesrs. Datar 
and Modak's admirable Marathi rendering. The book has been pub- 
lished at great expense by Messrs. Ohiplunkar and Co. at the Indira 
Press, Poona, and the second half of the rendering is delayed for want 
of funds. I wonld vent n re to appeal to the Marathi reading public to 
assist by puichasing the part already translated, in the publication of 
the second half. 


Arjona said ' king, I see a tall Shami tree on 
a rising ground; it is well if we hang our 
weapons on it. For, see, because of the great 
thorns that spread round it on every side it is hard 
for any one to climb it And again there is no 
one here now to see what we are doing. The 
tree too is in a lonely spot wherein live snakes 
and wild beasts, and an it is used as a burn- 
ing ground, there is but small fear of men 
wandering hither. Therefore, let us place our 
weapons on this tree and then let us go to Virat 
Kagar and as already resolved let us each on his 
own errand complete there the days of exile.' And 
in this wise Arjuna spoke to Yudhishthira and all 
the Pandavs got ready to give up their weapons. 
First Arjuna loosed the bow string of the mighty 
Gandiva*. Ah ! Gandiva, who can describe it ? 
For by the strength of it did Arjuna in his 
chariot subdue the gods and all men and all 
countries. Then Yudhishthira freed the gut of the 
bow by whose aid he had guarded the land of the 
Kurus. Next Bhima undid the fastenings of his 
bow. king ! f with this bow had Bhima 
the mighty defeated in battle the Panchalas and 
the lord of Sindhu, and in the hour of victory 
he had single-handed humbled a multitude of 
warriors. For, king ! the shock of that bow 

* The name of Arjana's bow given to him by Agzii when he foagbt 
against Indra. 

t The king here is king Janmejaya to whom in the forest the 
sage Vaishampayan told the deathless tale of the heroes of the house 
of Bharata. 


was like the thunderbolt that fidk upon and 
shalterB the hill crests. Next faeantiM Bweet^ 
longaed Nakula untied the bow with whieh he had 
oonqnered the lands of the West^ And last 
of all SahadeTa* unstrung the bow by whose help 
he had won the kingdi>mH of the Deocan. In this 
wise the Pandavs freed their bow strings and diey 
laid down their bows and their bright swotds, 
tli^ir jewelled quivers and their piereing arrows. 

Tndhiahthira gathered them togi^her and told 
Nakola to dimb the tree. And Naknla did ao and 
in the holes and crevices where the arms naj ght 
best lie and where the rain woold not reaidi dMB, 
there he placed them and tied theak with stna^ 
cords. Then the Pandavs tied a corpse to the tree 
thinVmg that its si^ht and smell woold keep men 
from wandering thither. Then diey walked to- 
wards Virat Nagar and on the road thej said to 
the shepherds and cowherds and others whom Aej 
passed : ^ According to the cnstcHn of oor finnify 
we have tied to that tree the corpse i^ onr mother 
dead at the age of ISOf. So the Pandavs goard- 
ed against the evil thoughts thai arise in men's 
minds and that thev mi^rht there pass the thirteenth 
year of exile they a[it<^red the m^ghtv city of Viral 

There is yet a third t^W that connects the Shami 
tree with Ra$:hn, the $rr;9ind*;jtther t^ Ramdiandra. 


It runs that one day a young sage called Kautsa 
quarrelled violently with his guru or teacher Var- 
tantu and wished to leave him. But Vartantu be- 
fore he let him go dunned him for fourteen crores of 
rupees as the price of his apprenticeship. Eautsa 
went to the court of king Raghu of Ayodhya to 
beg his master's fee. But he came at an unhappy 
time. King Raghu had just held a mighty sacri- 
fice and he had given everything he possessed to 
the Brahmanas who bad assembled. So that 
when Eautsa came to king Raghu's court the 
generous prince was reduced to dine off earthen 
plates. Eautsa's heart sank within him when he 
saw king Raghu's poverty nevertheless he dis- 
closed his object. The prince called his treasurer 
but in vain. The treasure room was as bare as 
Mrs. Hubbard's cupboard. In despair king Raghu 
prepared to raid lodra's capital Amraoti and rob him 
of the fourteen crores asked for by Kautsa. Just 
at this time Naradmuni came to Ayodhya and after 
the customary salutations enquired and learnt tha 
cause of king Raghu's preparation. He at once went 
to Amraoti and told Indra. The latter alarmed at 
the resolve of the desperate Eshattriya sent for the 
godEubera, his treasurer and the lord of all wealth 
and made him for three and-arhalf ghatkas the 
samenight shower gold on Ayodhya. And the gold 
aU fell in one place where a giant Shami tree stood. 
And next morning, the 10th of Ashwin Sudh^ 
the day chosen by his astrologers as auspicious for 
his advance against India, king Raghu saw masses 


of gold heaped all round the tree. He called Eautsa 
and told him to take it away. But the sage said 
that he wanted but the fourteen crores with which 
to pay Vartantu. And taking them he went his 
way. But the proud Kshattriya refused to touch 
what had been obtained for the needs of a Brah- 
mana and the rest of the gold lay there that all who 
wanted it might help themselves. And still on the 
10th Ashwin Sudh, the day that king Raghu 
should have started for Amraoti and better known 
as Dassara &om Dasha 10th, Maratha villagers 
keep alive his memory. For first worshipping the 
trunk of the Shami tree they cut off its branches 
and mixing them with earth, sesamum flowers, 
Apta leaves, and bajri ears they offer them to 
Ganesha who turns them, it is fancied, into gold. 
The heap is then taken to the village boundary 
and is there looted by the men and boys of 
the village. And this is the ceremony of the 

But there is a still stranger sequel. For in 
honour of his grandfather, Ramchandra chose also 
for his expedition against king Ravan of Lanka 
the 10th of Ashwin Sudh and before starting pray- 
ed to the Shami tree for success. And century 
after century the Rajput Kings have prayed to the 
Shami tree and led forth against each other or the 
Mleccha, the heroes of Mewar and Marwar. And 
following them the Maratha captains did likewise 
and on Dassara started forth on their raids. Then 
in the Peshwa's time when warfare became more 


scieDtific and organised campaigns took the place of 
razzias, the Dassara became a great festival on which 
the Peshwa distributed amid regal state dresses of 
honour to the Indian princes. And this custom 
when the Peshwai passed away was continued by 
the English Resident until in the late Empress' 
time the date was changed from the Dassara to the 
Sovereign's birthday, a practice which continues to 
this day. And thus it is that when the Agent for 
the Sirdars and the Deccan nobles assemble at the 
yearly Durbar to express their loyalty to their 
august master, the King Emperor, they also do 
homage all unwittingly to the legendary sanctity 
of King Raghu's Shami tree. 


The scientific name of the Bel plant is Aigle Mar- 
melos which, as I will freely admit, throws but 
little light on the subject In appearance it is an 
ordinary enough shrub with small green leaves and 
green apple-shaped fruit In Hindu religious 
circles, however, the Bel tree has a very large place, 
and its connection withSati, the first wife of Shiva, 
seems to indicate a pre-Aryan origin of its sancti- 
ty. Sati's story is told in the Shrimat Bhagwat 
the tale that was told by the sage Maitrya to 
Vidura, the brother of Pandu, and Dritarashtra, and 
thus the uncle of the Pandavs and Kuravs, the 
heroes of the Great War. 

Sati was the daughter of King Daksh by his 
union with Prasuti, the third daughter of self-sprung 
Manu. Now sixteen daughters were born of this 
union. And of them thirteen were given in marri- 
age to Dharma or Religion. And their names 
were Budhi or Talent, Medha or Discernment, 
Shradha or Devotion, Maitri or Friendship, Daya 
or Pity, Shanti or Calmness, Tushti or Satisfaction, 
Titiksha or Patience, Rhi or Intelligence, Unati or 


Happiness, Poshli or Weal and Mnrti or Shape. 
And to each of these was born a son of various 
names, but to Mnrti were bom Nar and Narayan^ at 
whose birth the Heavens burst into music and the 
angels and the cherubs — the Gandarvas and the 
Kinnars — ^began all to sing on the fifth note.f 
The fourteendi daughter was Swaha or Flame who 
wedded Agni or Fire. And the fifteenth daughter 
was Swadha whom King Daksh gave in marriage 
to the Pitars or deified saints. And the sixteenth 
was Sati and her he bestowed on the god Shiva. 
But of this marriage only evil came and here 
I will give a translation of the opening passage 
of the second chapter of the fourth book of the 
Shrimat Bhagwat. 

" Vidura, once upon a time King Daksh plan- 
ned a sacrifice and he invited to it with their pupils 
Vasishta and the sages and the Kishis and their 
retinues and all the gods and the Munis and the 
Agnis.J And shortly after they had come King 
Daksh entered. And by his lustre, Vidura, the 
mighty hall of sacrifice lit up. And all therein 
Beeing this king among men stood up, save only 
Brahmadev and Shiva. And King Daksh, after 
bowing to Brahmadev as the guru of all, sat on hi s 

* They were incarnations of Vishna althoagh not named among 
the ten principal ones. 

f The 7 notes or iwars of fiinda mnsio corresponding to the kej of 
O Natural are Sa, Be, Ga^ Ma, Pa, Da, and Ni. Thns the 5th note 
would be G— the note, ouriously enough, on which English clergymen 

X There were 49 Agnis either descended from or including the Agni 
who married Swaha. 


appointed throne. But 8hiva had never even 
moved in his seat and King Daksh felt so wroth at 
this that his eyes grew red as fire. And he so 
glared at Shiva so that those seated round expect- 
ed Shiva to be consumed. Then Daksh rose and 
pointing to Shiva said in the presence of all : 

" * members of the assembly, what I say to you 
do not think that I say it lightly or thoughtlessly 

[Here follows a page full of virulent abuse of 
Shiva to which Shiva replies at equal length and 
with equal acrimony,] 

'J'his wag how the quarrel commenced and Shiva 
rose from his seat before the sacrifice had begun 
and went homewards. And King Daksh then 
initiated the ceremonies to which the assembled 
guests had been invited and which lasted 1,000 
years. Sati, however, had not been present, and 
does not seem fully to have appreciated Shiva's 
explanation that external honour was only good 
for those absorbed in the Karma marg* and that he 
had really in his heart honoured King Daksh who 
had been too unenlightened to see it. Some ages 
later — ior time was of little value to these Mighty 
ones — King Daksh gave another sacrifice. And to 

• There are 4 Margs according to the Hindu belief : (a') The Karma 
marg, the ordinary path of worldly affairs, followed by the careless and 
the anbelievin^ ; C^) the Bhakti marg, the path of devotion and anfteri- 
ties, followed by the elect ; (o) the Raj marg, the path of Govemment to 
which the elect are next promoted ; and (,d) the Dnyan marg or path of 
knowledge, the last stage before Moksh or release from the pain of living 
is obtained. 


these again he invited the gods and the saints, the 
Munis and the Rishis. But Shiva and Sati received 
no invitation card. Sati, however, longed to see 
her parents and her sisters and wished to go 
uninvited. She asked Shiva for leave, but he 
refused. Thereupon she got so angry that she 
left him to go on foot to King Daksh^s house. 
Shiva then relented and sent after her his retinue 
and his sacred Bull Nandi Keshwar. So that in 
fuIJ state she duly arrived at King Daksh's sacri- 
ficial hall. But a visit which had begun with a 
wife's disobedience to her husband was predes- 
tined not to end well. So when Sati reached her 
goal only her mother and her sisters welcomed her. 
King Daksh and his courtiers openly ignored her. 
She then in the style of epic and puranic charac- 
ters abused her father for several pages and in the 
end resolved to destroy the vile body bestowed by 
him that she might no longer feel towards him 
any obligation. How she did it will be seen from 
the following translation : — 

The sage Maitrya said : " best of the Kurus 
{Vidura), hereupon Sati donned yellow clothes 
and sat down with her face to the north. She 
first performed the Achaman* rite and became 
silent and then according to the rules of Yoga, or 
the True Science, began the task of entering the 
state of Samadhi or Contemplation. She first 

* This conslBtB of sipping water in the names of Eeshav, Narayan 
and Xadhav and throwing it down in the name of Govind. 


became rigid and then united the Pran ^ and the 
Apan beneath her navel. Next by an upward mo- 
tion of the navel wheelf, she brought them to her 
heart and skilfully fixed them there. Lastly, she 
slowly forced them through her throat into her 
forehead. Now, as by living with the Lord Shiva 
she had become well-versed in the Yoga, she was 
then able by its means to produce a flame that 
enveloped her body." 

And so, the end was, the poor lady was entirely 
consumed and King Daksh's sacrificial party broke 
up in disorder. 

When the sad news reached the Lord Shiva he 
was inconsolable and wandered vainly up and 
down the earth and heavens seeking for mental 
rest. And at last he one day found it under a Bel 
tree.' For, seated in its shade, he cast his eyes 
upwards and from the shape of the fruit which 
resembled Sati's rounded bosom, he fancied that 
her spirit had become embodied in its trunk. Now 
it happened thereafter that Parwati, the daughter 
of Himalaya, lord of the mountains, wished to wed 
with the Lord Shiva. And to gain her end, she 
had practised various austerities. For twelve years 
she had sat with downcast eyes inhaling smoke. 

• According to Hindu science, there are in each human being 5 Vital 
airs : (a) The Pran or air of the lungs ; (b") Apan, the air in the lower 
abdomen ; (p) Vyan, the air diffused throughout the tissues of the body; 
(J) Udan^the air in the throat ; and (jb) Saman, the air in the stomach 
deemed necessary for digestion. 

t The Nabbichakra is the wheel supposed to lie under the humazL 
navel • 


Then for sixty-fonr years she had sat eating with* 
ered leaves. In the month of Magh (February) 
she had sat immersed in water ; in Vaishak (May) 
she had sat between five fires, and in the rains she 
had sat without food and without a roof. Now she 
had all but reached her object when Naradmuni, 
mischief-maker among the gods, visited Himalaya, 
lord of the mountains, and urged hun to unite 
Parwati to Vishnu. Himalaya agreed, but Par- 
wati fled with a waiting maid into the desert. 
There she drew a linga on the sand placed on it 
Bel leaves, and abandoning all food and water, gave 
herself up to the worship of the Lord Shiva. At 
last, conquered by her devotion, he appeared and 
granted her the boon of wifedom to himself. Thus, 
the Bel is doubly sacred, for it granted rest to the 
Lord Shiva and won wedlock for Parwati. And 
he who worships Shiva without the leaves of the 
Bel will be consigned to the blackest depths of 
Hell for one Ealp or seven ages of Lidra each of 
7,000 years. And the learned in Hindu medicine 
use it in many ways. The young fruit is used as 
an aperient. The fruit, full grown but still sour, is 
given as a cure for dysentery. And the fruit fully 
ripened is used as an astringent and an appetizer. 
The Bel, too, has played a part in history. For, on 
the strength of an oath sworn on the Bel bandar, 
the First Peshwa, Balaji Vishvanath, trusted himself 
to the tender mercies of Damaji Thorat, the jaghir- 
dar of Patas. His trust was betrayed, for Balaji 
was at once seized and tortured. When reproached 


with his broken oath Damaji replied : ^' What of it ? 
the Bel is only a tree and bandar tormeric I eat 
every day.'* Such ignoble levity only lowered him 
in his fellow countrymen's eyes, and to use an 
Irish expression, he never bad the same name in 
the country afterwards. Lastly, the comparative 
size of the Bel fruit and the Avala {Phyttanthus 
emhlica) has given rise to a humorous proverb : 
** Avala deun bel kadane/' or as we say *^ to give a 
sprat to oatoh a salmon." 


Some three miles from where, in the summer 
capital of the Bombay Government, the English 
foregather on the tennis court and the golf green 
lies the ancient village of Mahableshwar from 
which by an improper extension the name was 
applied to the village of Nahar chosen by Sir John 
Malcolm as a hot weather retreat for Bombay 
officialdom. In most ancient religions peculiar 
sanctity seems to have attached to rivers, and, 
especially so, in burnt up India, where the rarity 
of running water makes it the ^nore precious. 
Great, therefore, is the holiness of Mahableshwar, 
for from the sacred pool round which the temples 
cluster rise, so it is fabled, no less than five 
streams — the Krishna, the Venna, the Koyna, 
iho Gayatri, and Savitri. 

]^e last two are of no great importance, but the 

fikcee are considerable rivers. The Venna 

) Krishna at Mahuli near Satara. The 


Reggio, and on the French proletariat after Valmy, 
and Jemmappes.* 

Another mile or so and the tonga abruptly 
stopped. Unawares we had arrived at the end 
of our journey. My friend, it seemed, had 
previously informed the pujaris or guardians of the 
shrine of our intended visit and we were escorted by 
the entire village to the temple nearest the road- 
one sacred to Mahadev or Shiva. In the outer 
room into which all may enter sits a massive bull, 
which, as always in Shiva's temples, looks toward 
the godhead's inner shrine. We were then taken 
out of the temple and skirting its outer wall were 
allowed to peep into the deity's sacred bedroom. 
In front hung lace curtains and these, when 
pulled aside, revealed a bed, covered in the 
English fashion, with pillows, sheets and blanket. 
There is an old Sanskrit proverb much in vogue 
both in Guzerat and the Deccan : " Bajya kalasya 
karanam " (the king is the model of the time) and 
never was its truth more demonstrated than by 
the manner of the bed on which, guarded by a 
bronze five-hooded cobra, rests nightly Shiva's 
sacred presence. 

We had not, however, come to see the temple 
of Shiv but that of Mahabal. The legend runs 

* Theodore de Banville^s striking lines will, I dare say, be known to 
many ot my readers : — 

*' Qnand les Idvres de V aurore. 
Baisaient noF, yenx soulev^s 
Et nous n^^tions pas encore 
La France des petits crevls.'^ 


that there were two demon brothers Mahabal and 
Atibal who warred against the gods and harassed 
the Brahmans. Atibal was kiJled by Vishnu in 
single combat. Mahabal sought to avenge his 
brother but was tricked into promising Vishnu 
a favour. The favour asked and granted was the 
death of Mahabal, but it was rendered less bitter 
by Shiva's promise that he and Vishnu would 
in the after years be worshipped on the scene 
of the battle under the names of Mahabaleshwar 
and Atibaleshwar^. This, however, is only an 
idle tale and the names themselves suggest that 
they were but the expression of the fear of early 
man at the desolate grandeur of those storm-swept 
hills and of the surpassing might of the hand 
which, according to his simple mind, must have 
fashioned them. 

But, of course, the main interest in the temple 
attaches to the sacred pool. It is divided into two 
compartments, as it were, in one of which the 
worshippers bathe and in the other wash their 
clothes. Just above the pool is a stone image of a 
cow from whose mouth pours a considerable stream 
of water. Above are five recesses in the wall re- 
sembling shrines sacred to the five rivers. And that 
on Krishna's shrine, on the extreme right, was 
honoured (I could not ascertain why) by a number 
of burning candles. Under the pool, so the priest 
told us, were pipes which led beneath the ground 

*Maliabale8hwar=great strength of god. 
AtibaleBhwar=va8t streagth of god. 


to the channels of the five rivers. I was not 
allowed myself to enter and examine the truth of 
this story but my companion did so and returned not 
very satisfied. The tale is, however, possible, for 
the Krishna's falls are only a few yards away and 
the pool may well be connected with the Maha- 
bleshwar lake which in turn feeds the Venna river. 
In any case we came not to scoff but to observe 
and we were amply rewarded. 

As we quitted Mahabal's temple I noticed on my 
left a small shrine. Over it floated the yellow 
flag of Shiva from which was evolved the national 
standard of the Marathas, the renowned Bhagwa 
Jhenda. I asked a pujari ^^ hen deval koni stha- 
pilen ? " (who built that temple). He answered : 
** Holkar yani — Ahilyabai Holkar '* (Ahilyabai Hol- 
kar built it). Ahilyabai Holkar ! What a volume 
of old world history her name recalled. She was 
a daughter of the house of Shinde and was the 
wife of Khanderao Holkar, the great Malharrao's 
only son, who was killed in battle near Bharatpur. 
Her husband predeceased his father, but left a 
graceless son called Malerao. Ahilyabai had 
always been famous for her alms and piety. But 
her son used her qualities as a bait for his 
malice. He used to ofEer lotas filled with rupees 
to devotees attracted by Ahilyabai's generosity. 
They eagerly grasped his gift and plunged their 
hands into the coins only to find that the prince 
had underneath them concealed scorpions. And 
their screams of pain were simultaneously accom- 


panied by the mocking laughter of the scapegrace 
youth and the pious sobs of the queen mother. On 
Malerao's early deatb^ Bagunathrao, uncle and 
minister to Madhavrao Peshwa, sought to re-esta- 
blish the central authority over Holkar's jaghin 
But he had entirely mistaken the character of the 
lady whom he desired to oppress. He wished to 
force upon her a distasteful adoption and a compul- 
sory contribution or nazarana to the Peshwa, 
Ahilyabai, however, displayed in this juncture, the 
high spirit and resolution of Maria Theresa, 
Throwing aside for the moment her devotional 
exercises she placed herself at the head of the 
Malwa chieftains and fastening to each comer of 
her elephant's howdah a quiver filled with arrows 
she renounced her allegiance to the Peshwa and 
defied each of the four quarters of his empire. But 
the challenge was never accepted, for Raghunathrao 
fioon learnt with dismay that behind Ahilyabai 
stood, ready to support to the utmost, his slighted 
kinswoman, the first Indian statesman and soldier 
of that age — ^Mahadji Ranoji Shinde. A hasty 
letter from Poena smoothed over the existing diffi- 
culties and the trouble was removed* Some years 
later her territory was invaded by the first prince 
of Rajasthan, Ulsi Singh, Maharana of Udaipur, 
but the fiery queen's answer to this insult was a 
defeat so tremendous that until her death at the 
age of sixty-eight no other ever dared again to 
disturb her endless prayers or the calm tran- 
quillity of Holkar's dominions. She was in truth 


a great and noble lady and on her soul be the 

The pujari ftirther told me that every year he 
received Rs. 60 for the upkeep of the temple Then, 
why, I asked, was the tail of the bull which faced 
it and which had fallen away or been knocked oflF, 
not replaced.? The answer was that the Rs. 60 
were allowed for the performance of the god's 
worship not for the restoration of his bull's tail. 
So I have no doubt, but that the unhappy beast 
will throughout the ages sit tailless as a Manx 
cat, presenting, as if in cynical defiance, his dis- 
honoured stem to the hostile scrutiny of the unholy 

The morning was wearing on so we took our 
leave, not however escaping a flood of entreaties 
for alms from the pujaris — conduct which brought 
on them the severe rebuke of the tongawala, who, 
as he said, could not understand how persons 
worth lakhs of rupees could behave in that dis- 
graceful fashion. This statement did not, however, 
prevent him later from behaving similarly to 
obtain an enhanced fare. When confronted with 
his former admission he sought refuge in evasion 
and contended that he had but said that such con- 
duct was blameworthy in persons worth lakhs of 
rupees aud not in poor tonga-drivers like himself. 
His ingenious plea was, however, disallowed, and 
he departed grumbling yet unashamed. But this 
was at the end of our journey and we had 
it still before us. The higher sun brought out 


more fully the contrast of the green jungle and 
the red roads. A soft breeze stirred the tops 
of the jambul trees and the lights and shades 
chased each other along their silver barks. And 
far below, dazzling our eyes like a mirror played 
upon them by a wanton schoolboy, and guarded 
on either side by the sombre spurs of the Sahyadris, 
we saw winding through the endless valley the 
flashing waters of the Koyna river. 


As the fast mail train of the Great Indian Penin- 
sula Railway flies along the gradually narrow- 
ing plain that divides Foona from Lonavla^ it 
is probable that but few of its passengers observe 
a tiny roadside station just beyond Talegaon, The 
mail does not stop there and as it thunders past it 
is hard to read the name on the notice board. 
And beyond the name there is nothing else which 
would attract attention. A little village nestling 
in the centre of a rough plateau five or six miles 
wide is not an uncommon sight to a traveller in 
Western India, Yet name and spot are both worthy 
of more than a passing glance. For the name of the 
village is Wadgaon and the rough open ground 
shut in by the dark cliffs of the Sahyadris was the 
scene of one of the greatest disasters that ever 
befell the English arms in the annals of India. 

Fully to understand the tangled politics of those 
times it is necessary to go back to the death of 
the great Bajirao, who, broken-hearted at the 
failure of his attempt to destroy the new power in 
the Deccan created by the Nizam-ul-Mulk, died 
on the 20th of April 1740, on the banks of the 
Narbadda. Of his three legitimate sons one died in 


«arly youth. But the two eldest, Balaji and 
Baghunathrao, both men of few scruples but great 
ability, played foremost parts in the history of the 
Marathas. The former succeeded his father as 
Peshwa and nine years later, on the death of 
Shahu, became by the forced •* sati " of his widow 
and by Tarabai's imprisonment of Ram Raja, 
Shahu's heir, the absolute master of the empire. 
But as he died, overwhelmed by the news of 
Fanxpat many years before the events with which 
this article is concerned, it is unnecessary to refer 
further to him. The days of Eaghunathrao, 
however, were many and evil, and, while Balaji 
really founded the dynasty of the Poena Peshwas, 
no one laboured more effectively to destroy it than 
bis younger brother. Lideed, during his long life, 
the part played by himself and his son after 
him, resemble in an extraordinary manner, the part 
enacted in France by the princes of the House of 
Orleans. In his earlier life the exploits of 
Raghunathrao recall those of the gallant prince 
who at Steinkirk, when only fifteen, broke at the 
head of the Great King's glittering guards through 
the advancing infautry of William of Orange. 
With far more claim to generalship and with a 
heart no less bold, Raghunathrao led 50,000 
Maratha cavalry from Poena to Delhi, defeated 
Ahmed Shah Abdali's Afghan governor of Sirhind, 
and gave to the Peshwas' horse the proud spectacle 
of the Bhagwa Jhenda's golden pennons dancing 
in triumph above the walls of Lahore. 


A quarrel, however^ with his cousin Sadashiyrao 
about the cost of this expedition far more than 
destroyed its good results. Adopting the tactics 
employed by Nicias towards Cleon, Raghunathrao 
suggested that Sadashivrao should himself lead 
the next expedition to Hindustan. The result was 
what Raghunath both hoped and expected. 
Sadashivrao, without military talents of any kind^ 
was overwhelmed by the Afghans at Panipat. 
He and his nephew, the Crown prince Yishwat 
Rao, perished with 200,000 men on that bleak 
and bitter plain. Nor was this all. The Peshwa 
Balaji was, as I have said, unable long to survive 
the news and in the midst of this calamitous time 
the vast weight of the shaken empire was thrown 
on the shoulders of the dead Balaji's second son^ 
then barely seventeen, and known to history as 
Madhavrao Ballal. In the face of disasters due 
wholly to Raghunath's own jealous nature, it was 
yet open to him partially to redeem his conduct 
by displaying towards his young nephew loyalty 
and deference. But Raghunathrao from this time 
onward committed towards his brother's children a 
series of crimes and treasons which entirely over- 
shadow those which a few years later brought on 
Philippe Egalit6 the execration of all Europe. 

Nettled at Madhavrao's wish to take some part 
in the administration, Raghunathrao assembled an 
army and defeated his nephew's troops; and but for 
Madhavrao's chivalrous submission the State would 
have fallen a prey to the Nizam's advancing army. 


The union of the two relatives was soon rewarded 
by the great victory of Rakshasabhawan wherein 
Madhavrao so covered himself with glory that 
Raghnnathrao was no longer able to dispute his 
isnpremacy. But when in 1772 the gallant and 
capable young prince died of consumption, Raghu- 
nathrao renewed against his brother Narainrao the 
plot which had been foiled by the talents and 
character of Madhavrao. Less than a year after 
Narainrao's succession he was, with the connivance 
of Raghunathrao and at the instigation of his in- 
famous wife Anandibai, murdered in cold blood by 
the officers of the palace guard. It is satisfactory 
to note that this crime brought on its author nothing 
but misery. For shortly after Narainrao's murder 
jhis widow gave birth to a son, called Madhavrao, 
after his uncle, thus again interposing a direct 
heir between Raghunathrao and the Peshwai. 
Having murdered his king, Raghunathrao's next 
step was to betray his country. By sedulously 
spreading false reports he convinced the English 
Government of Bombay that Madhavrao was a 
spurious child, and by offering the cession of a large 
part of Gujarat he obtained their armed assistance. 
On the 18th May, 1775, Colonel Keating with a 
small mixed force of English and sepoys won, near 
the banks of the Mai, the decisive victory of Arass. 
Some seven months previous to this action, how- 
ever, the Government of Bengal had assumed the 
supreme control of our Indian possessions, and as 
the Bombay Government had carried on this war 


resolute march would place Poena in his hands.* 
No arguments moved the Committee and at 11 
on the 11th January, the victorious army threw 
their heavy guns into the lake of Talegaon and 
began their retreat. They soon learnt that the 
Maratha troopsi although unable to check a hostile 
advance, did not lack enterprise in a pursuit. Iso- 
lated parties pushed on and seized hills in front of 
the English force so as to enfilade it as it passed. 
Bodies of horse plundered the baggage and en- 
gaged the head of the retreating army, and but for 
the signal skill and bravery of Captain Hartley, 
the English force would probably have not long 
survived. But every charge of the Deccan 
horse was met and defeated by this gallant 
soldier's resource and valour. The whole of 
the 12th January he occupied, in spite of the 
efforts of the entire Maratha grand army now 
arrived to dislodge him, a low rising ground 
with his unsupported rear guard. And as even- 
ing fell he was able to make good his retreat to 
Wadgaon where the rest of his comrades had 

Here he found that the Committee were unwill- 
ing to continue the retreat and had already sent a 
Mr. Farmer to negotiate with the enemy. This as 
might have been expected did not discourage the 
Marathas. And Mahadji Shinde insisted on a 

•Even Mr. Natu, the writer of an admirable vernacalar life of 
Mahadji Sindia, admits that the Maratha troops of this period were 
worthless. '' Ehogir bharte, ^^ i,e.^ mere saddle stuffing, is his expressive 


complete surreDder and on a cession of not only 
all the Company's conquests since the death of 
elder Madhavrao but also of the Company's pos- 
sessions in Broach and Surat In vain Hartley 
protested, offering himself to conduct the retreat. 
And, indeed, under so gallant a leader and with 
the spirit of the troops and the junior officers still 
mibroken, it is possible that the force might still 
have even fought its way to Poena. But the 
courage of the Committee had now so ebbed that 
Hartley's resolute words roused no echo. After a 
feeble demur that they had no powers to negotiate 
ihey consented to every demand made by Shinde, 
and they were only spared the ignominy of sign- 
ing away Raghunathrao's liberty by his own as- 
tuteness. For correctly gauging the situation, he, 
shortly afler tbe retreat began, deserted his allies 
and threw himself on Shinde's mercy. On the 
acceptance of the latter*s terms, a treaty was drawn 
up and signed. The Committee were then allowed, 
as au act of clemency, to withdraw with their army 
to Bombay. I am glad to say that their conduct 
received there a fitting punishment. The senior 
officers of the expedition were one and all ignomi- 
niously dismissed and Captain Hartley was promoted 
to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Unfortunately, 
his promotion was conferred without due considera- 
tion and on the petition of such of his seniors who 
had not served in the recent campaign, his pay 
and further promotion were suspended until they 
had again superseded him. Mortified beyond 


measure, he resigned the Company's service but 
recommended by the Court of the Directors to the 
King, he was given command of the 73rd regi- 
ment, rose to the rank of Major-General, and was 
the animating spirit of the reconquest of the 
Konkan and of the capture of Bassein. 

Such is the stirring story of the lonely station 
which the Mail trains pass heedlessly by. Nor 
has its remembrance lingered with the inhabitants 
of the quiet village. I sought in vain with their 
help to locate the rising ground so stubbornly 
defended by Hartley, and the spot where the 
treaty was discussed by Farmer and by Mahadji 
Shinde, But battle, retreat, capitulation — all alike 
had been forgotten. And, indeed, when through 
the mists of a November evening the long purple 
hills look calmly down on the babul-dotted plain^ 
on the old stronghold of the Dhabades and on 
the trees mirrored in the sleeping lake, h is hard 
to picture that they once enjoyed a spectacle 
unique in Western India, — the surrender of an 
English army. 


To many probably of my readers the word 
Bakhar will be unknown. And perhaps it will be 
as well to clear the ground by explaining that the 
word does not mean a he-goat, as I once heard it 
translated by an enthusiastic but ilMnformed 
Marathi student. I am unaware of the origin of 
the term, but it is applied to the family histories 
of the great Deccan houses and these bakhars 
formed one of the mines from which Grant DuflF 
took his materials. The bakhar with which this 
article will deal must have been written not long 
after the downfall of the last Bajirao and narrates 
in simple language the history of a family that for 
more than a century took a leading part in the 
affairs of the Maratha Empire. The book — a bound 
manuscript — was kindly lent me by Sirdar Dha- 
bade of Talegaon, and as I read, at first with diffi- 
culty and then with some fluency, the old Maratha 
shrift, I seemed to see, through the medium of this 
unpretentious tale, enacted before me all the 
complex and striking events that together made 
up the history of the Empire of the Marathas. 

The founder of the Dhabade family was one 
Yeshpatil Dhabade, Mukadam of Talegaon, who 


first obtained service as the personal attendant of 
Shivaji. On the latter's death Yeshpatil continued 
to act as the tutor of the two young Princes Sam- 
bhaji and Rajaram while his two sons Ehanderao 
and Sivaji served as their pages. In 1689 Sambhaji 
and in 1690 his son Shahu were captured by 
Aurangzib. Thereupon the Dhabades were retain- 
ed solely in the service of Rajaram and at the 
council gathered to declare the latter regent, 
Khanderao represented the family interests. 
Shortly, however, after Shabu's capture, Rajaram 
at Panala was in grave danger of a similar fate. 
He had taken reftige in that fort when it was 
suddenly besieged by a detachment of the Moghal 
army under Zulfikarkhan. But fortunately for 
their Prince the Dhabade family were with him. 
At their father's command Ehanderao and Shi- 
vaji disgaised Rajaram and themselves as grass 
cutters and so slipped through the Moghal lines. 
The Prince, whose health was never robust, soon 
tired and would no doubt have succumbed during 
the flight had not the two Dhabades— if our chro- 
nicles can be believed — carried him forty miles in 
a single day. Shivaji, it is true, fell down and 
died of fatigue, but Ehanderao triumphantly bore 
his Prince out of danger.* Needless to say the 
grateful Prince was not slow to reward his saviour. 

• This feat bas been attiibnted by Grant Dnff, Vol. I, p. 877, to 
the Shirke family. And I dare say the honour of saving Bajazam ii 
claimed by several difierent houses. 

Since writing this the true origin of the word bakhar has been 
suggested to me. It is a corruption of khabar. 


Indapnri, Urase, and Dbankan villages had al- 
ready been granted to the Dhabades, and to these 
he added, at the birth of his son, the patelki and 
kulkami rights of the talukas of Junnar, Hari- 
chanda, Pnna and of the parganas of Akola and 
Maval. And as the quaint deed ran: '^ If any 
one were to disturb the possession of the Dhaba- 
des his act, were he a Hindu, would be deemed 
as heinous as if he had killed both a cow and a 
Brahmin at Benares and were he a Musulman as 
if he had taken an oath on the Kaaba and broken 
it." And the value of this substantial gift was 
heightened by the title of Sena Ehas Ehel or com- 
mandant of the royal guards. Rajaram died in 
the summer of 1700 and Aurangzib seven years 
later. On the latter's death Shahu was released, 
and naturally wished to enter into possession of 
his father's kingdom, but Rajaram's widow, Tari^ 
bai, had for 7 years enjoyed power and was 
tmwilling to give it up. She affected to believe 
that Shahu was a mere impostor and sent Ehande- 
rao Dhabade who had been his early playmate to 
test him. No doubt the lady thought that Dhaba- 
de would, as a prudent man, decide according to 
her wishes. But if so she was disappointed. For 
the gallant Sirdar after meeting Shahu and care- 
fully examining him declared him to be the true 
0on of Shambhaji and joined his cause. It was 
saccessful and honours rained on the loyal Ehan- 
derao. He was confirmed in the possession of 
Rajaram's grants although as the original deeds 


had been lost in the war they might well have 
been repudiated. And not long after the instal- 
lation of Balaji Vishwanath as Peshwa, Ehanderao 
Dhabade was raised to the rank of Senapati or 
Commander-m-Chief. He was now one of the 
great officers of State and in order to maintain his 
rank he was granted the Sar deshmnkhi rights of 
the 104 villages of the pargana of Panner. The 
duties of his new office were first exercised in the 
conquest of Gujarat where he, in conjunction with 
the Nizam, won against the Syads the decisive 
victory of Balapur (A.D, 1720). He did not, 
however, long survive the fatigues of this cam- 
paign. On account of his old age he asked to 
be excused from further service and begged that 
his son Trimbakrao might be at once invested 
with his own earlier title of Sena Khas EheL 
This was granted and Khanderao returned to 
Talegaon where he shortly afterwards died of 

Balaji Vishwanath who had always remained 
on friendly terms with the Dhabades, had pre- 
deceaped Khanderao by a few months and a 
struggle was shortly to ensue between their sons 
which was alike disastrous to the Dhabades and 
the kingdom. Trimbakrao had before his father's 
death made himself complete master of Baroda 
and Southern Gujarat and when he succeeded to 
the post of Senapati he was regarded after the 
king as the most considerable personage in the 
Deccan. As a Maratha also, he had with him the 


good wishes of the descendants of Sivaji's com- 
rades and of the deshasth Brahmins both of whom 
had regarded with dislike the preponderant 
power of Balaji Vishwanath and the increasing 
number of Chitpawans in the public offices. In 
spite of considerable opposition, however, Shahu, 
mindful of Balaji'e services, gave some months 
after his death the vacant post of Peshwa to 
Bajirao, his son. It was now generally felt that 
the contest between the Dhabades and Bajirao 
would not long be delayed. Nor was public 
expectation in error. At the first durbar held 
after Bajirao's elevation he proposed to king 
Shahu the conquest of Malwa. Shripatrao Puresh- 
ram, whose father had^ died about the same 
time as Khanderao Dhabade and Balaji Vish- 
wanath, and who had thereby succeeded to the 
title of Pratinidhi (or the king's image), was a 
Yajurvedha Deshasth and as such a supporter of 
Trimbakrao. He as the Dhabade's mouth-piece 
resisted the proposal. He drew a just picture of 
the disorganisation of the finances, of the dis- 
ordered state of the Konkan and Gujarat, and 
urged with force and truth that the time had 
come to consolidate the Maratha conquests. 
Their independence had been recognised. It was 
far better that while avoiding all rupture with 
either Delhi or Hyderabad, they should convert 
their present possessions into a wealthy and 
powerful kingdom. Bajirao, however, skilfully 
begged the question. Without touching on 


matters of administration or finance he dwelt on 
the great deeds of Sivaji, who with far less 
resources had opposed the Moghal Empire in its 
heyday. He excited the king^s cupidity by 
dwelling on the indolence, the imbecility and 
above all the wealth of the Moghals, and sti- 
midated his religious zeal by urging him to drive 
from the sacred soil of India the outcaste and the 
barbarian. But such a line of reasoning would 
probably have failed but for the transcen- 
dent personal qualities of the speaker. The com- 
manding stature that reached the low Maratha 
ceiling, the rich clear voice, the bold, virile 
features, the dark imperious eyes that forced 
attention and above all the rare felicity of diction* 
that for centuries has been the peculiar gift of the 
Konkanastha Ghitpawan produced an irresistible 
effect And when at the close of a lofty pero- 
ration, the minister fixed on Shahu his glowing 
gaze and said, '^ Maharaja Sahib if you but listen 
to my counsel, I shall plant your banner on the 
walls of Attock, '' the scene that ensued was the 
most dramatic in history. Regardless of the rigid 
etiquette of an Eastern Durbar king Shahu, with 
blazing eyes, sprang from the '• gadi " to his feet ; 
** Plant my banner on Attock fort," he cried, half 

* This strange admission of Deshasth Brahmins that their language 
to be perfect must be spoken by a Konkanastha finds a curion? parallel 
in the old Florentine saying that perfect Italian was the language 
of Florence as spoken by a Roman — La lingna toscana nella bocca 


drawing his sword. '^ By God, yon shall plant it 
on the throne of the Almighty 1'** 

The Dhabade, though beaten in debate by no 
means abandoned the straggle. He refused with 
curtness Bajirao's offer to share in half the Malwa 
conquests in return for half Gujarat, and in 1731 
took the open field with 65,000t men. Bajirao 
thereupon advanced on Dabhai. He was fortunate 
enough to find the Dhabades' troops divided. 
Trimbakrao with part of the army was at Dabhai. 
His two younger brothers were at a distance of 
forty miles. The Peshwa's intrigues were also 
iully successful. On a plea of watering their 
horses ail the Dhabade cavalry deserted to the 
enemy. Trimbakrao, however, chained the legs 
of his elephant to a gun and disputed the battle 
with the greatest obstinacy. Indeed it is possible 
that Trimbakrao might have won had not his own 
cousin Shingrao Toke treacherously shot him in 
the temple as he removed his helmet at the close 
of the day. This decided the struggle. And 
although the writer of the Bakhar would have 
us believe that Trimbakrao's two brothers came 
up, turned the tide of battle and drove Bajirao to 
Satara^ where he was only saved by King Shahu's 
intervention, I am afraid that Grant DufPs version 
that Bajirao was victorious must be accepted. On 

* The phrase used by the king was the Einnar Ehand. Grant Dnff 
has translated this as the Himalayas. The term is the equivalent of 
the celestial regions. And the excited Shahn'^s meaning, as I take it| 
wai that his armies would conquer Earth first and Heaven afterwards. 

t Qrant Onff estimates the number at 86,000. 


the other hand the victory was probably not so 
complete as has been alleged, and there may be 
trath in the account that the two brothers laid 
their swords before the King as if to quit his 
service and were only placated with the utmost 

The elder Yeshwantrao was in Trimbakrao^s 
place made Senapati and the younger Baburao 
Senakhaskhel, and neither suffered at the king's 
hands any losd because of their rebellion^ The 
new Senakhaskhel soon showed himself worthy of 
the honour. The Nawab of Surat had levied 
octroi from an envoy of Shahu, and the Senakhas- 
khel asked for and obtained leave to avenge the 
insult With 368 sowars he proceeded to a camp 
four miles from the town and there displayed the 
Nawab's banner, whose followers he and his men 
declared themselves to be. At midnight they 
proceeded to the town gates which were open 
because of the Kartiksnan festival, and without 
hindrance passed through them, alleging an 
urgent call from the Nawab himself. Similarly 
they penetrated the inner fort, and capturing the 
unfortunate ruler, carried him outside the City, 
where he was compelled to surrender fourteen of 
his twenty-eight Mahals and the Chauth of Surat. 
For this feat Baburao received a gold anklet and 
the Dhabades a Jaghir worth annually five lakhs 
as well as the Mokasa rights over Ambare, Khan- 
desh, Baglan and the Karnatik. In the following 
years the Dhabades and their high-spirited mother 


Umabai conquered Ahmedabad, and an agreement 
sanctioned by Shahu and entered into with Bajirao 
giving to the Dhabades complete independence 
from the Peshwa's control restored them in a 
great measure to their old position. But in the 
coarse of the next ten years there occurred three 
events disastrous to the fortunes of the family. 
The gallant Baburao was poisoned in Khandesh. 
Pilaji Gaikwad was assassinated at Baroda, and 
the great Bajirao died on the 28th April, 1740, on 
the banks of the Narbadda. 

Pilaji Gaikwad, who had risen from the post of 
Khanderao^s trainer to that of his second-in- 
command, had been left by the Dhabades as their 
Viceroy in Gujarat. He administered the country 
with success, and faithfoUy and regularly paid 
to bis masters at Talegaon the provincial revenues. 
But his son Damaji, knowing the hostility of the 
Dhabades and the Peishwas, saw that he might 
turn it to his own profit. Bajirao would not 
listen to his proposals, but his son Balaji bad none 
of his father's scruples. During Shahu's life- 
time, it is true, Damaji's schemes came to nothing. 
For the king saw through them and supported 
with admirable loyalty the descendants of his old 
playmate. But at his death Balaji, by the impri- 
sonment of Shahu's heir Ramraja and the forced 
sati of Shahu's widow, became the master of the 
kingdom and readily fell in with a proposal to 
humble his only serious rival the Senapati. He 
demanded from him the cession of half Gujarat. 


The Senapati consulted Damaji who, pocdng as a 
friend, scouted the idea and advised him strongly 
to fight.* They joined forces, claiming to be the 
champions of Raja Ram's widow Tarabai, bat on 
the battlefield of Alandi the Oaikwad deserted his 
master, who was seized and confined in Poena 
prison. For the sake of appearances Damaji was 
also imprisoned, but shortly afterwards released^ 
and he and the Peshwa divided between them 
Gujarat, while the unfortunate Senapati had to be 
satisfied with a promised monthly allowanoe of 
half a lakh, which was never paid. Teshwantrao 
Dhabade, however, had had enough of rebellion, 
and in 1754 took part in the Peshwa's conquest of 
Bednore, and in the course of it died on the banks 
of the Krishna. His son Trimbakrao succeeded as 
Senapati, and was present at Panipat from which,i 
however, he and Damaji Gaikwad both escaped. 

On the death of Balaji, which occurred almost 
immediately after the news of that disastrous 
defeat, Trimbakrao allied himself with Balaji's 
brother Raghunathrao in his attempts to dispossess 
Madhurao, his nephew. But Raghunathrao was 
also joined by Damaji Gaikwad, who thereupon 
plotted and all but effected the seizure and 
imprisonment of his old master's heir. The latter 
in disgust fled to the Nizam. But good fortune 
had deserted the lords of Talegaon. Madhavrao 
and Raghunathrao were reconciled and together 
defeated the Nizam at Rakshasbhawan, and 

• This acconnt ebonld be ctmpared with page 62. 


Damaji Gaikwad obtained from the Peshwa the 
possession of the entire Dhabade Estates on an 
undertaking to pay off Trimbakrao's creditors. 
This, followed by the investiture of Damaji with 
the titie of Senakhaskhel, proved too much for 
poor Trimbakrao, who died of grief at Verul. 
His old enemy Damaji died not l6ng afterwards, 
and in the disputed succession the hopes of 
Laxmibai, Trimbkrao Dhabade's widow, rose high. 
But once again the Gaikwads were successful. 
The widow obtained, through the Peshwas' help, a 
large Jaghir from Govindrao Gaikwad, but only to 
:find that it had already been mortgaged by his 
brother Fatehsing Gaikwad to his creditors. The 
Dhabades had now ceased to have any real 
political importance, and the rest of the family 
history is more or less a continuous struggle with 
poverty and rapacious money lenders. The 
widow was helped to some extent by Nana 
Phadnavis, who placed her in possession of a Jaghir 
of Rs. 50,000. Her adopted son Yeshwantrao^ 
however, was faced with fresh difficulties. Created 
Senapati by the last Bajirao, and granted a 
considerable estate in Ehandesh, he fell into the 
clutches of Balaji Kunjir, the Peshwa's favourite, 
who secured for himself the remains of the 
Dhabade Estate by the following ingenious 
expedient. The favourite directed the Senapati 
to raise an army, promising that the Peshwa 
would defray the expenses. The army was raised 
but the Peshwa disclaimed all responsibility, and 


the poor Dhabade was forced to agree to baud 
over his entire property to Eunjir that the latter 
might pay off the arrears of the clamorous troops. 
The Dhabade was now an utter beggar, but with 
considerable foresight cultivated the friendship 
of the English. And eventually the marriage of 
his son to Daulatrao Shinde's daughter gave 
Yeshwanlrao an honoured retreat in Gwalior. 

The writer of the Bakhar ends with an ezpres* 
sion of grim satisfaction that Teshwantrao lived to 
see the English Government overturn the 
Peshwa's rule and restore to the throne the heir 
of the immortal Bhosle who had first befriended 
the Mukadam of Talegaon. Nor were joyful feel- 
ings the only gain of Teshwantrao. The English 
whose society he had courted restored him to 
Talegaon and to the property from which Eunjir 
had cheated him. And to-day within the old fort 
wall, which overlooks the trains and the motors 
that join Poena to Bombay, there lives a gallant 
sportsman and loyal gentleman, the first class 
Sirdar Khanderao Dhabade of Talegaon. By his 
courtesy I have been permitted to make this 
story public, and his many firiends will, I know^ 
unite with me in the wish that one day or other 
his line may restore the ancient glories of a house 
which once ruled as all but sovereign Princes in 
Baroda, Ahmedabad, Ehandesh and the Mawal 


I think that it may be said with fairness that 
there are at least 3 articles of belief commonly ac- 
cepted, if not by all, by at any rate, the great majo- 
rity of Anglo-Indians. These articles are that (1) 
the Indian lion is a small and maneless coward ; 
that (2) the Graikwad of Baroda means the cowherd 
of Baroda ; that (3) there is snch a person as a 
Maratha Brahmiu. Nor are eminent sponsors lack- 
ing. For Macaulay in his essay on Warren Hast- 
ings has supported article No. 2. While article 
No. 3 derives authority from no less a writer than 
the great Grant Du£E. Nevertheless in spite of 
such illustrious god-parents the said 3 articles of 
belief must, I am afraid, be condemned as here- 
tical. The Indian lion is a fierce hirsute beast 
similar in size and appearance to his Somaliland 
cousin. There is no such word in Marathi langu- 
age as Gaikwad meaning " cowherd." And there 
never was and there never will be such a person 
as a Maratha Brahmin.^ 

* The principal castes of Biahmins to be found in the Deccan are 
Bigreda Deshasths, Vajurveda Desbasths and Earads. Beside these 
there is a large number of Ohitpawans or Eonkanasths who have 


Now if the word Gaikwad does not mean cow- 
herd what then does it mean ? It is made up of 
two words : Gai "a cow" and Eavad **a small door,'' 
Gaikwad therefore means cow door. And the 
story of the name as told me by a Baroda official 
is this. One Nandaji, the great grandfather of 
Pilaji Gaikwad, was in charge of Bher fort in the 
Pawan MawaL A Musalman butch^ one day 
drove past the fort gates a quantity of cows^ intend- 
ing at the end of his journey to convert them into 
beef. Nandaji, like a virtuous Hindu, rushed out 
and rescued the cows which ran for shelter through 
a side door or Kavad in the fort wall. Now this 
Nandaji had a son Keroji Rao and Keroji Rao had 
four sons Damaji, Liugoji, Gujoji and Harji Rao. 
Pilaji was, however, adopted by his uncle Damaji 
and in the end became the founder of the famous 
line o£ the Maharaja Gaikwads of Baroda. 

Now how did Pilaji Gaikwad begin his career? 
I have found two different stories. The Dabhade 
bakhar records that when the great Khanderao 
Dabhade was sent by Tarabai to ascertain and r^ 
port whether Shahu was an impostor or really 
Shambhu's son he took with him as Naik of his 

immigrated from tliQ Eonkan. A Maratha means generally a Kanbi, 
but it 18 often restricted to those Eunbi families who claim to have 
Bajpnt descent. The term a Maratha Brahmin is therefore a con* 
tradiction in terms. Of coarse, Grant Duff knew this and his mistake 
was merely a concession to popular Anglo-Indian usage. 

[Since writing this I have learnt from Mr. ELarandikar of Satara, 
that the phrase is borrowed from Madras, where Marathi speaking 
Brahmins are styled If aratha Brahmins. The phrase is, howeyer^ 
unknown in Poena]. 


Jasuds or messengers, one Pilaji Gttikwad and 
him he sent to tell Tarabai that Shahu was no im- 
postor but the true heir to Sivaji's empire. So 
speedily did Pilaji go to the queen mother and re- 
turn to Ehanderao that the latter gave Pilaji as a 
reward the command of 50 horse, in the Pilaji 
Bakhar,ofwhioh acopy was recently furnished me 
by the courtesy of the Baroda Government, I find a 
quite different Story. Pilaji was at first a groom in 
Dabhade's household and was put in charge of some 
forty or fifty mares, which had become too thin 
to carry Khanderao's sowars. Pilaji, it seems, was 
an efficient borse trainer and he took the mares 
with him to the village of Narayanpur in Jawapur 
pargana where they shortly recovered their condi- 
tion. Khanderao then gave him 200 or 300 other 
foundered nags which also recovered health and 
strength and Pilaji not only returned the horses 
but most of the money given to him for their keep. 
As a reward the Dabhade promoted him to the 
command of a squadron with which he was to 
garrison Jawapur. This pargana and the neigh- 
bouring districts were then in the hands of the 
Bandes and the Pawars — other officers of the 
Senapati. They affected to believe that the latter 
had made a mistake and refused to hand over to 
Pilaji his new possession. To compensate him, 
however, the Dabhade gave him two other squad- 
rons and allowed him to establish himself at 
Songadh. Soon afterwards Pilaji had his revenge. 
In the year 1720 A.D. Nizam-ul-Mulk formed 



tbe plan of making himself independent in Malwa 
as he afterwards did at Hyderabad. To effect 
his scheme, he allied himself with the Marathas in 
Onjerat and decisively defeated the Imperial Army 
at Balapnr. Gonspicnons among the victors were 
the troops of Ehanderao Dabhade, and distinguish- 
ed even among those gallant men was Pilaji Gaik- 
wad. As a reward he was emphatically declared 
to be the superior officer of both Bande and 
Pawar, and promoted to be the Dabhade's Viceroy 
in Gujerat. Pilaji's life for the next few years was 
a continual straggle. From the North of Gujerat 
the Imperial troops came pouring in anxious to 
restore the old Mogal sovereignty. From the 
East pressed the Nizam-ul-Mulk and Pilaji's only 
safety lay in dexterous diplomacy. Fortunately 
he was equal to the occasion. The first battle of 
Arass will, I think, serve as a typical instance. 
The Imperial side was led by Rustam Alii Khan and 
to him Pilaji joined himself. On the day of the 
battle lending a ready ear to the Nizam's emissaries 
Pilaji got rid of his ally in this ingenious manner. 
Taking advantage of a momentary success of 
Rustam Khan's artillery, Pilaji persuaded him to 
finish the battle by a grand cavalry charge. The 
guileless Mogal consented and away went the 
glittering masses of the Imperial horse. Pilaji, 
however, detached himself, destroyed his allies' 
guns and then charged with his Maratha lancers into 
the rear of Rustam Ali's squadrons. They were 
utterly defeated and Rustam Ali stabbed himself 


to avoid capture. Events, however, which were 
seriooBly to affect Gujarat^ had been rapidly ripen- 
ing in another quarter. Balaji Vishwanath Feshwa 
and Khanderao Dabhade died in 1721, shortly 
after the victory of Balapur. Between their eons 
Bajirao and Trimbakrao there smouldered a 
rivalry, which in 1731 flared into civil war. The 
rival armies met near Dabhai and Trimbakrao 
was killed and his army routed. In its ranks was 
Pilaji Oaikwad. He fought like a gallant soldier^ 
lost his eldest son Sayajirao and was himself 
severely wounded. He did not, however, long 
survive. The Emperor taking advantage of the 
quarrels of the Marathas sent Abhai Sing ^ of 
Marwad to recover Gujarat He recovered Baroda 
and then pretended to negotiate for a partition of 
the province. While Pilaji listened, the pretend- 
ed emissary stabbed him to the heart. He was 
carried to Saoli in a palki and his body was burnt 
at Karanjal on the banks of the Nerbadda. In 
estimating his character no great task confronts us. 
He was a gallant soldier and faithful servant, who 
if he was treacherous in his master^s interests, 
disdained to be so in his own. His eldest surviv- 
ing son and successor Damaji presents a harder 
task. K the writer of the Dhabade Bakhar be be- 
lieved there is scarcely a human vice of which he 
was not the possessor nor any baseness of which 
be was not capable. He was the fiend incarnate, 

*The BakhaT mentions Dokalsing as the author of the assassination. 
I think this mnst be a mistake and I have followed Grant Onff. 


the Mephistopheles — ^to use the essayist'd phrase 
— of the cruel sneer and iron eye. But when 
we turn to the Gaikwad Bakhar, we can scarcely 
believe our senses so great has been the transfor- 
mation. The double-dyed villain has been com* 
pletely whitewashed. Satan has resumed his old 
place in the forefront of the Archangels. So far 
from Damaji being stained by any blot of treachery, 
his was the noble character which sufiSdred long 
years of imprisonment sooner than desert his 
master. Tet, I think, that we shall not be far 
wrong if we adopt the maxim of the publican in 
Silas Mamer and judge that the truth lies some- 
where between the two. Damaji seems to have 
been a bold, aspiring, unscrupulous man, whose 
keen judgment admirably suited to the times, 
enabled him to thrive exceedingly. Had he been a 
Frenchman of the early years of the 19th century, 
he would in all probability have risen to be a mar- 
shal of the empire or even to be Duke of Warsaw 
or King of Portugal He would with Murat have 
deserted the struggling Titan when his throne 
began to totter, and would with Bemadotte have 
avoided the grievous error of returning to his old 
allegiance with the violets in the spring. Had 
Damaji been an Italian of the cinque cento^ he 
would have shot, stabbed and poisoned himself 
into the overlordship of Siena or Verona arid 
would have proved a serious rival to Pandolfo 
Petrucci and the Visconti of Milan. He would 
have obtained a place in the portrait gallery of 


II Prinoipe ; and the great secretary would hare 
drawn his picture with the same rare skill and 
admiring awe with which he limned the features 
of Cesare Borgia and Castruccio Castracani. 

The first enemies whom Damaji had to meet 
were the Bandes and the Pawars who had long re- 
sented their subordination to the Gaikwad. Damaji, 
however, completely defeated them. Pawar was 
taken and beheaded and Bande was forced to flee 
from Gujarat. The next ten years seem to have 
been spent in incessant conflict. In Samvat 1800 
(A.D. 1744) Babuji Naik of Baramati surprised 
Songad and burnt it with all the Gaikwad 's stores 
and treasure* And in the following year ^ Wala 
Shah a renegade prince of Devgadhrose against the 
Maratha Government. Everything, however, ended 
in Damaji's favour. Babuji Naik was driven from 
the province, Wala Shah became a dependent on 
the bounty of the Nizam while Damaji was in- 
vested with the title of Shamsher Bahadur f by 
Yeshwantrao Dabhade, who had succeeded to his 
father Trimbakrao's honours. In 1750, however, 
there occurred events which altered the whole 
destiny of the Maratha empire. Shahu died and on 
his death Balaji Bajirao*s son seized control of 
the entire administration. Tarabai, Shahu's aunt^ 
rebelled and was joined by Damaji Gaikwad and 

* I have not been able to find why Babaji Naik attacked Damaji. 
Babnji was the patron of the poet Moro Pant and descended from a 
Brahmin contractor to Anrangzib. He was connected by marriage 
"with the Peahwa and may have acted at bis secret instigation. 

t The date of Damaji's inyestiture of this title is very uncertain. 


Yeshwantrao Dabhade who defeated the Peshwa's 
troops on the banks of the Krishna. The Peshwa, 
however, treated with Damaji, entrapped him into 
his camp and then imprisoned both him and 
Dabhade, the former at Singadh and the latter at 
Lohgadh. But here the authors of the two Bakhars 
diverge widely. The Dabhade Bakhar has alleged 
that Damaji voluDtarily allowed himself to be im- 
prisoned in order to escape the odium of his trea- 
chery. The Gaikwad historian would have us 
believe that Damaji, treacherously seized, endured 
his prison for many years rather than betray his 
master. The truth seems to be that Damaji had 
intended to desert to the Feshwa's side, but was 
treacherously seized by him that he might be made 
to disgorge Gujarat. The gallant resistance how- 
ever of Kesharji Gaikwad, Damaji's relative and 
regent in Gujarat, made the Peshwa decide to re- 
lease his prisoner. Damaji received at Dabhade's 
expense the title of Senakhaskhel ^ and half 
Gujarat. The other half was appropriated by 
Balaji Bajirao. Damaji then returned to his 
province where he found that Ahmedabad had 
during his captivity passed into Musulman hands. 
In 1755, however, Damaji finally annexed it to the 
Baroda Government. 

Some years previous to this date an Afghan 
soldier in the service of Nadir Shah had on the 
latter's assassination established himself as king 

. * The Dabhade Bakhar placet the investitiire of Damaji with the 
title of Senakhaskhel mnoh later. 


of Herat and in 1747-48 began a series of invar 
sions of India. To meet them the Peshwa^s Go- 
vernment sent several expeditions into Northern 
India and Damaji Gaikwad seems to have been 
present with most of them nntil the complete over- 
throw in 1761 of the Marat has on the field of 
Panipat. When Vishwasrao, the Peshwa'e eldest 
son, fell mortally wounded, Malharrao Holkar left 
the field. Damaji Gaikwad was the next to 
follow and some weeks later the Maratha sentry 
on the Baroda watch tower saw a single horseman 
struggling to reach the city. It was Damaji him- 
self, the sole survivor of the Gujarat contingent. 
The rest had either fallen in battle or been during 
the retreat massacred by the peasants. When the 
magnitude of the Maratha disaster was fully 
grasped by the neighbouring powers there was 
heard, to use the expressive simile in Pickwick, an 
uproar such as that which goes up from the whole 
menagerie when the elephant rings the bell for the 
cold meat. Every ruler, who had a grievance or 
could imagine one, made a demand on the 
Peshwa's Government. To make matters worse, 
Balaji had shortly after Panipat died broken-heart- 
ed and his brother Baghunathrao tried to usurp 
the throne from his nephew Madhavrao, a boy of 
16. Uncle and nephew took the field. With the 
latter was Damaji, but his skilful desertion to Ba- 
ghunathrao gave the latter the victory. In the 
meantime, the Nizam, who had no claim to make, 
had wisely wasted no time in doing so. He 


collected an ariDj and advanced on Poena, propoB- 
ing coolly to resume it as a former part of the Mogal 
empire. He, however, little knew the hero spirit 
that glowed within the boyish breast of the young 
Peshwa. He mounted an elephant aud rode 
unattended into his uncle's camp. They were re- 
conciled and joined hands to expel the Mogals. 
A forced march enabled Raghunathrao to come up 
with the Nizam at Raksbasabhavan^ as his army 
was crossing the Godavari. The Maratbas attack* 
ed the enemy as they were astride the river, but 
the Maratha cavalry had already marched 16 
miles and the Mogal troops, the old comrades 
of the Nizam-ul-mulk, fought desperately in 
defence of his son. The attack was repulsed^ 
Raghunathrao's cavalry scattered every where, 
and the Nizam encouraged his troops to press on 
and the Peshwa *s empire would be theirs. It was 
then that the true greatness of Madhavrao's nature 
came to light. Distrusted by his uncle be had 
been placed in charge of a small body of cavalry in 
the rear of the army. With this band as a 
nucleus, he reformed as best he could such fugitives 
as passed near him. Just as he prepared to 
charge Malharrao Holkar carae up fleeing from 
the battle. He tried to dissuade Madhavrao and 
urged him to seek in Poena safety and a throne. 
The young prince turned on him like a wounded 

* For an excellent aocount of this battle I would refer my readers 
to Mr. Thakore's monograph on Madhavrao Peshwa which obtained the 
writer the Manockji Limji gold medal in 1893. 


tiger. " Then it is true " he said, " that you left 
Sadashivrao to die at Panipat ? " Malharrao stung 
to the quick could but join his prince, and as the 
Mogal army advanced in the disorder of success, 
Madhavrao's cavalry burst on them stabbing, 
sabring, trampling down all resistance. Few 
troops then in India could have stood that furious 
onset and the Mogal army, that but a moment 
before had had victory in their grasp, were hurled 
headlong into the Godavari. Twenty-one guns and 
15 elephants were captured on the field of battle, 
and Naldurg fort and territory yielding 82 lakhs 
of rupees were paid by the Nizam as the price of 
peace. Damaji had fought at Rakshasabhavan 
and shared in the victory, but Madhavrao had 
not forgotten his desertion to Raghunathrao, 
and when in 1768 the latter rebelled Damaji, 
who had again joined him, was fined 23 lakhs, 
compelled to support 3,000 troops in the Peshwa's 
private service and pay a future tribute of nearly 
7 lakhs a year. Madhavrao was now supreme lord 
of Western India, and it is not likely that Damaji, 
who died** the same year, foresaw that in 50 years 
the Peshwa's line would be extinct, and his own 
stUl seated firmly on the throne of Baroda. 

As the bakhar ends with thedeath of Damaji, I do 
not propose to drag my readers through the endless 
struggles and intrigues of his graceless sons. It 
will suffice to say that after passing in turn through 

* He died from the result of an accident wbilfi making a chemical 
experiment. Vide EUiot^s Rulers of Baroda, p. 56. 


the hands of Sayajirao, Fatehsing and Manaji, the 
sucoessioa reverted to Damaji's eldest son Govind- 
rao. Through Govindrao's son, Sayajirao, the line 
was continued to MalharraO| Damaji's great grandson 
who was deposed in 1874, The English Govern- 
ment looking for an heir, whom Khanderao Gaik- 
wad's widow might adopt, fixed on Gopalrao, then 
a little boy, and the direct descendant of Prataprao, 
the youngest son of Pilaji Gaikwad. As is usual 
at a Hindu adoption, the boy's name was changed, 
and under the title of Sayajirao, he now controls the 
destinies of the Baroda State. If my readers have 
borne with me so far, I trust, they will permit to 
make them one more suggestion. Should they have 
a few days' spare time, and are anxious to see how 
an Indian State can be guided by Indian rulers, let 
them go to Baroda. They will see what are some- 
times deemed counsels of perfection brought to re- 
alisation. They will see Indian judges perfectly ac- 
quainted with English law and with three languages 
dispensing justice. They will see the State cover- 
ing itself with a net work of light railways, houses 
provided by the State for its ofl&cials, vast public 
gardens and public bands kept up by the State for 
the amusement of its subjects. I do not say that 
faults will wholly escape the visitor's notice, but I 
greatly err if they do not go away deeply impressed 
with the talents and efficiency of the group of able 
men, who surround the ruler iu whose veins there 
flows still the blood of Pilaji Damaji Gaikwad. 


Duty bad brought me to Satara, and tbree miles 
from the City and barely two from the Cantonment, 
lay the little double village of Mahuli Vasti and 
Mahuli Kshetra. As I was anxious thoroughly to 
explore the spot, I invoked the assistance of a 
learned Indian friend. By a happy chance he had 
at the time staying with him a party one of whom 
possessed a motor car. This was promptly 
commandeered and the same afternoon was fixed 
for our voyage of discovery. It happened that of 
our party 3 were acquainted with Gujerati, 4 with 
English, all 5 with Marathl This, therefore, we 
adopted as the language of conversation and amid 
a flood of Deccani plentifully interspersed with 
English " Motorisms," the big car started gaily. 
Behind us frowned the fort of Azimtara. To 
the right was the English cemetery, on our left 
flashed by a Hindu temple surrounded by Dipmalas 
or lamp stands resembling nothing so much in 
shape as the monkey puzzles that grow to delight 
children in the Regent's Park and in the Jardin des 
Plantes. In front of us towered sugar loaf-shaped 
Jaranda on whose summit nestles in a little wood a 
small but picturesque temple to Maruti^. It is said 

* Marnti is another name for Hannman the monkey god. A some* 
what limilar story is told of Shivaji^s preceptor Shri Bamdai. 


that some 20 years ago there lived in it a sadhn 
of such surpassing sanctity that eventually 
growing a tail he became an avatar of the 
godhead — tantum religio potuit Let us only 
hope that on translation to a higher sphere his 
tail did not drop off with the cold like Brer 
Rabbit's did in the iced water. 

It does not take long for a motor car to devour 
two miles and soon we reached the empty bed of 
the Krishna river wherein a stranded ferry boat 
made it possible, though still hard, to realize 
that in a month or two the pebbly chaonel would 
be one mass of roaring yellow water striving to 
fiiid its way to the far off Bay of Bengal. In 
front of us a notice forbidding strictly the exciting 
sport of monkey shooting made it clear to us that 
we were in the territory of the Pant Pratinidhi of 
Aundh. The Pratinidhi"^ whose title was created in 
the time of Rajaram and whose ancestor acted as 
the Dabhade's mouth piece in his struggJe with 
Bajirao acquired this tiny domain in the following 
way. Once on the occasion of an eclipse King 
Shahu had gone from Satara to bathe in the 
Krishna river. With him was his favourite 
minister Shrioivasraot, the then Pratinidhi, who 
was widely lamed for his holiness and charities. 
Carried away by the fervour inspired by his 
religious act King Shahu sought in vain on the 

* Prilbad, the first Pratinidhi (the king's mirror) was the son of 
Niraji BivajOs Nyayadhish Pradhan or Lord Chief Justice. 
t Shrinivasrao was also ci^Hed Shrlpatrao. 


deserted bank of the Krishna for a pious Brahmin 
on whom to bestow a gift. Learning his wish 
Shrinivasrao dexterously profitted by it " 1 am, '* 
he said, " both pious and a Brahmin, make me the 
gift/* King Shahu took the hint and bestowed on 
him the 120 bigas on which now stand the 
temples of Vasti Mahuli®. In fairness, however, to 
Shrinivasrao it must be said that he derived no 
personal gain from the grant. For, in the Bame 
year, 1720 A. D., he gave it for perpetual enjoy- 
ment to one Anant Bhat bin Aman Bhat Golande, 
a man who, as the sanad tells us, was profoundly 
versed io the Vedas. A hardly less quaint tale 
gives the origin of Kshetra Mahuli, the little village 
on the Krishna's eastern bank. It dates from 
the old Adilshahi dynasty and Shivaji gave to its 
Brahmins a small, and in their opinion, a too small 
allowance. They in the end, however, found a 
solution. When Shivaji died and Shambhu was 
murdered, the Brahmins of Kshetra Mahuli went 
to find the fugitive Rajaram at Chindi. There 
they blest him and told him to be of good heart, 
for in the end Shivaji's empire would return to the 
Marathas. Touched with their devotion he gave 
them instead of their meagre grant the whole inam 
rights which they still enjoy over Kshetra Mahuli. 

As we stood and looked across the river I learnt 
that the temple to our right h^d been in 1874 
built by Sagunabai, the widow of the last ruling 

• The terms of this sanad, as Indeed many or the other facts about 
Mahnli were given me by my learned friend Mr. Parasnis of Satara. 


king of Sataxa, Shahji, otherwise known as 
Apasaheb. She was the adoptive mother of the 
Sardar who, had other councils prevailed with Lord 
Dalhousie, would have been Maharaja Chatrapati, 
and who died not long ago at Satara and was 
like his forerunners burnt at Mahuli. Just in 
front of us, however, stood a far more interesting 
monument. It was that erected by King Shahu 
to his favourite hound. The dog's name was 
Khandya, and the tale runs that by barking he 
attracted the king's attention to a tiger about to 
spring on him. Another version is that the dog 
itself flew at a charging panther, and so allowed 
his master time to escape. The king's gratitude 
passed into madness. He gave the dog a seat in 
durbar, a sanad as a jaghirdar, and kept up on its 
behalf a complete palki establishment. On its 
death, its body was solemnly cremated, and its 
asti or charred bones committed to the earth on the 
banks of the sacred river. Over them was erected 
a monument surmounted by a red stone image, 
which has lasted for over 150 years. The dog's 
image is unfortunately much defaced, but a small 
sculpture at the side still preserves for our eyes 
the artist's conception. For there a marvellous 
hound prances through the ages — wonderful, awe- 
inspiring, tiger-tearing. Surely no dog save that of 
Odysseus ever had a more enduring memorial. 
A few steps brought us into the very centre of 
the little village. On our left, rose the great temple 
of Vishveshwar* erected at a cost of ten lakhs by 


Shrinivasrao, the village founder. At its entrance 
a mighty basalt bull seems to struggle through 
the river sands, and within its vestibule there hangs 
a bronze bell which, taken from a Portuguese 
church near Bassein, once swung to call the godly 
to worship, and sinners to repentance, and now is 
tolled instead to rouse the drowsy god and scare 
the all too wakeful demons ^. Just opposite is a 
temple built on a different model. It was built 
by Shrinivasrao's widow in honour of her gallant 
husband, and designed, as it is, in the northern style, 
bears witness unwittingly to the onward march of 
the Maratha armies. In front of us and across the 
Krishna rose the splendid flight of 35 steps lead* 
ing to the temple of Rameshwar built by Parashu- 
ram Angal of Dehgaon. At its side and as if cling- 
ing to the main staircase may be seen another flight 
of steps which start firmly from the river bed, and 
then unfinished lose themselves in the sands of 
the bank above. The flight was begun and left 
unfinished by Bajirao Raghunathrao, the last of the 
Poona Peshwas, and to the curious affords a 
striking simile to his own career. This prince, 
destined to such strange vicissitudes, was born at 
Dhar in December A.D. 1775. When he was but 9 
years old, his father, weary of war and failures, and 
disgusted with the treaty of Salpa, died at 

* This idea is expressed in the following Sanskrit eloke :— 
Agmanarthan tn devanam gemanartham tn rakshzam kura gante 

ravam nad. O Bell, make a sweet sound to call the gods and disperse 

the demons. 


KopargaoQ on the banks of the GUxlavery. For 
the next eleven years Bajirao lived with his 
mother, but on her death in 1793 the all powerful 
regent Nana Phadnavis seized her sons and 
incarcerated them as State prisoners. In the 
meantime, the young Peshwa Madhavrao, 
Bajirao's first cousin, once removed, had reached the 
age of 21, but him, too, the regent detained in jeal- 
ous seclusion. The two relatives began to cor- 
respond until Nana Phadnavis discovered their 
secret, and so bitter were his reproaches that the 
young Peshwa goaded to madness, threw himself 
from his palace terrace into the court-yard below. 
This unforeseen event gave the throne to Bajirao. 
Everything seemed to point to a prosperous reign. 
His early childhood had been passed among the 
English with whom his father had so often 
been allied. Nature, too, had lavished on him 
her gifts. Even the tall envoys of Britain were 
struck by his high bearing and commanding 
stature, and in Maratha eyes, no surer archer nor 
bolder horseman shot or rode in the plains of 
Gangathadi. Nor was his mind less finely formed 
than his body. And the Pandits were alike 
amazed and confounded by the erudition of their 
princely student. Yet just as at the christening 
of the Regent d'Orl^ans some wicked uninvited 
fairy came and spoilt all his gifts, so, too, the 
strength and learning of Bajirao availed him 
nothing. Vacillating and treacherous he broke 
every treaty that he made either with the English or 


with his Maratha confederates. Afraid to seize 
Shinde in open Durbar, he yet gloated over the 
screams of VithojiHolkar as he was dragged by the 
Peshwa*8 orders through the Pooua streets at the 
foot of an elephant. This last act brought on him 
the wrath of Yeshwantrao Holkar who drove him 
away from his kingdom, and forced him to sign 
by the treaty of Bassein his independence in return 
for English support. Detected in intrigues against 
his protectors he was driven on the 8th May, 1817, 
to make further concessions by the treaty of Poena. 
It was about this time that Bajirao began the 
building of the steps, and it was when he was 
most deeply involved in the schemes which event- 
ually led to the battle of Kirkee that he had 
while standing on them in July of the same year, 
an interview with the British Agent Sir John 
Malcolm. The latter lavished good advice which 
Bajirao professed hypocritically to accept. Had 
the steps been animate they would have seconded 
Malcolm for their completion depended on the 
following of his counsel. But warnings and 
experience were alike wasted on the Peshwa. 
Only a few months later, the Resident was at- 
tacked and insulted. Kirkee, Koregaon and Ashta 
followed. The steps were never completed. 
And the empire of the Peshwas passed away from 
among the kingdoms of the earth. 

We th|9n passed on to the bed of the river 
wherein two Shivlingas lying side by side mark 
the spot where King Shahu's remains were com- 



mitted to the earth. The reason why there are two 
instead of one is somewhat quaint. It happened 
that shortly after Shahu's cremation his Shivlinga 
was washed away. Another was built there in 
its stead. But when some years later the Ist 
Shivlinga was found lying buried in the 
sands it was unearthed and placed by the side 
of its substitute. Just below the Shivlingas is 
a small statue of an Indian lady that marks 
the sati of Shahu's widow, Sakvarbai. She 
was a datighter of the turbulent house of 
Shirke, and during her husband's declining years 
she had hoped after his death to continue her 
influence by the adoption of an infant son. But 
she had to reckon with the malice of Tarabai, the 
widow of Rajaram, Shahu's uncle. She gave out 
that Ram Raja, son of Shivaji 11, and nephew of 
Shahu, still survived in concealment. Furious at 
what she deemed to be an imposture Sakvarbai 
intrigued with Damaji Gaikwad to secure her 
position. But there was yet another player in the 
game, Balaji Bajirao Peshwa. He knew of both the 
ladies' designs and turned them to his own profit 
Although during Shahu's last illness, Balaji ling- 
ered in an agony of indecision yet when the king 
ceased to breathe he acted with the promptitude of 
Frederick. Early on the morning of Shahu's death 
the clatter of a thousand horse woke the sleeping 
Satara streets. Tarabai, Ram Kaja and Sak- 
varbai were alike seized. By a clever stratagem 
Tarabai was herself made the guardian of Ram 


Raja and was induced to declare that Sakvarbai 
must become a sati. For the latter there was no 
escape. Previous to Shahu's death she had, in 
order to mask her plot, declared that she would 
bum with her husband. And the Peshwa called 
to his aid not only Tarabai but Sakvarbai's 
brother, Kuvarji Shirke, who, bribed by Balaji, 
threatened to drag her by force to the pyre. 
Sakvarbai maddened by disappointment and 
deserted by her relatives agreed to join her 
husband. She met her fate like a high born 
Maratha lady, and just before the end had the 
fortitude to give Balaji her jewelled earrings and 
her blessing.^ 

As the sun was setting we expressed a wish to 
see the evening ceremonies f held over Shahu's 
Shivlingas. The pujaris looked doubtfully at me, 
but, assured that I was no scoffer, consented. 
Two or three men carrying morchels or peacock 
feather fans with silver handles approached the 
grave and waved the insignia of royalty over the 
dead King's ashes. Then a horn-blower blew a 

* The ornament given by her was Kudhvachi Jodi^ a pair of ear 
ornaments containing 4 pearls and 2 rubies. Her words were ** snkhane 
rajya sambhala.^' 

t There are 16 kinds of pnjas in the Hlnda religion (Shodsbopii* 
char> They are :— a vahan, invoking ; asan, giving seat of honour; 
padhya>feet washing ; argh;^ a, libation ; aachman, giving to drink; 
snan, bathing ; vastra, dressing ; yadnopavit, thread investiture ; 
gandh, anointing with sandal flour ; pusphs erowniog with fiowen ; 
dhnp, incense ; dip, lamp lighting ; naiyedhya, food offering ; dakshina, 
money gift; pradakshina, going round the idol } mantrapushp, 
«cattenng of flowers. 


wild blast to rouse his and Sakvarbai's sleepiDg 
spirits. They were now deemed to be awake and a 
Brahmin knelt and carefully bathed the Shivlingas 
and the dead queen's image. Again the morchels 
waved and again the echoes work to the wild 
horn's mnsic. Then both Shivlingas and sta- 
tuette were carefully dried. Halud or yellow 
tormeric lines were made on the Shivlingas and 
across Sakvarbai's breast. And on her forehead 
was placed a kankn tila or the red mark worn by 
the wife. For by her death she had avoided the 
shame of widowhood. The spirits were now fully 
dressed for their meal and iand^ or uncooked 
rice was scattered for their benefit. And 
once again the morchels waved and the horn 
blared in their honour. Then an udbati or 
incense stick was kindled and in a niranjan 
or metal dish filled with ghee a wick was 
lit The incense smoke filled the whole air 
in spite of the ceaseless waving of the morchels 
and then by a strange illusion caused, no doubt, 
by the violet shades c f the twilight, the acrid 
scent of the incense and the whole strange barbaric 
scene, the smoke assumed to my eyes a rough 
likeness to a Maratha warrior. A scowl, too, 
seemed to darkai Sakvarbai's face, and I felt like 
the aleqier in the Gulistan who dreamt ooe night 
}m saw, blazing with anger, the eyes of 
d ttus Ghisnivide searching in vain for the 
of Ida ampire. One last terrific horn 
day thoQgfats. Theincense smoke 


blew away. The pujaris rang a bell, scattered 
flowers and then knelt in reverence by the shrine. 
My friends salaamed and I, half involuntarily, 
lifted my hat to the memory of so much greatness 
and of so much glory. So intense had been the 
interest of the scene that it was almost with a sigh 
of relief that I turned back where the motor stood. 
Once again it whirled us past the Hindu temple 
and the Christian graveyard, and at my request it 
left me at the door of the club house. As I entered 
it to the sound of English voices I looked at my 
watch. The car had taken five minutes to come 
from Mahuli. In 300 seconds it had traversed 150 


Every cold weather the outward-bonnd steamers 
bring their loads of eager sight-seers, who on 
landing in Bombay, bifurcate as a role into two 
divisions. The larger band rashes north to see 
the Taj and Agra Fort, the monument at Cawn- 
pore and the Delhi ridge, the smaller of the two 
turns southward towards Bijapur and thence 
towards the Cauvery fall and the great temples of 
Madras. Off both beaten tracks, however, may be 
found spots which if lacking the gorgeous archi- 
tectural wealth of the cities dear to tourists hardly, 
if at all, yield to them an historical interest. 
Among these spots is Sholapur. Its old fort dates 
back beyond human records. The town and its 
surrounding districts were the bone of contention 
over which Nizam Shahi and Adil Shahi dynas- 
ties, Peshwas and Hyderabad Nizams fought. 
And in May, 1S18, the fort saw the last firagment of 
Bajirao's empire disappear, when General Munro 
drove from its walls the Maratha garrison. 

To study the early history of Shdapnr is no 
easy task« It must be sought for within the pages 
of die Ferishta and not only is the book extremely 
rare but the author's tale, to use his own quaint 


description of the Deccan valleys, is, *' as dark as 
the mazes of love and as winding as the curly 
locks of the fair one" The Deccan escaped the 
earlier Musulman raids that overthrew Delhi and 
Hindustan, and until Ramdev, king of Devgad, 
espoused the cause of Earan Ghelo, the last Raj- 
put ruler of Gujarat, Sholapur, like the sur- 
rounding country, formed part of the domain of 
the Yadav princes. Annexed by the Afghan 
emperor Alauddin Khilji, the Deccan supported 
Hasan Ganga Bahmani in his revolt against 
Delhi. With the unity of conception which 
the Musulmans first introduced into Indian 
politics, this able tyrant formed into one vast 
kingdom all the imperial provinces and the petty 
States south of the Narbadda. But the adminis- 
tration of his descendants, resting wholly, as it did, 
upon local support, became eventually imbued with 
Hindu centrifugal ideas. One minister, Nizam-ul- 
mulk, made Ahmednagar an independent king- 
dom. A Turkish* adventurer whose career exceeds 
in romance any of the tales told by Shaharazade 
founded the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur. A 
converted Canarese became monarch of Berar. 
Another Turk seized the throne of Bidar. And 
Ibrahim Kutub 8hah, a Persian guardsman of the 
last Bahmani king, created, amid the roaring 

• Adil Shah was the son of Amorath II, Sultan of Turkey. Ue 
esoaped almost by a miracle the massacre which destroyed all the male 
members of his family. He was sold in captivity and after being 
•uceessiTely a slave, a sepoy, a general and a minister became king of 
Bijftpnr and lost, retook and finally lost again Goa to the Portuguese. 


drums* and the regal state of his native country, 
the still remembered Sultanate of Golconda. 

Sholapur and its eleven districts formed a debat- 
able tract between the frontiers of Bijapur and 
Ahmednagar. Five and a half districts were in 
1511 annexed to Bijapur by the regent Kamal 
Khan. And eventually a partition might have been 
acquiesced in by both kingdoms. Unfortunately in 
1524 when the princess Miriam of Bijapur was, in 
order to cement the alliance of the two kingdoms 
against Vijayanagar, married to the Ahmednagar 
king, her dowry was declared to be Sholapur and 
the Bijapuri half of the eleven districts. 

Now the dowries of princesses have been a 
fruitful source of Political trouble. Readers of 
Dumas will remember the difficulties that beset 
Henry IV when attempting to recover the dowry 
of Margaret of Valois and just as le roi vert et 
galant was obliged to storm Cahors, so the king 
of Ahmednagar was faced with the alternative of 
a penniless queen or a war with Bijapur. He 
chose the latter but so far from gaining Sholapur 
he lost two battles and was obliged in the peace 
of 1542 to renounce all claims to it. But he was 
persevering by nature and in 1551 through an 
aUiance with the Hindus of Vijayanagar — an 
alliance which shocked the faithful as much as 
Francis Ps treaty with the Ottoman Turks 
shocked Christendom — he retook Sholapur and 

* This is said to be the first state bccasion on which kettle drams 
were used in India. They are now indiipensable. 


shortly afterwards died happy. The quarrel was, 
however, hy no means over. Bijapur had now 
its grievance ; for that administration repudiated 
the terms of the Princess Miriam's dowry aud its 
young Prince Ali Adil Shah sought in turn Vija- 
yanagar's aid to recover the lost province. The 
Hindu ruler Ramraj received the overtures favour- 
ably but unwillingly gave to the young Musulman, 
then his guest, great offence.^ And so it fell out 
that instead of making an alliance with the Hindu 
State Ali Adil Shah organised against it a great 
Musalman league and destroyed it. But what 
caused the fall of Vijayanagar decided finally the 
ownership of Sholapur. For to cement the holy 
alliance against the infidel Ali Adil Shah married 
a Nizam Shahi Princess and with her came back 
to Bijapur, Sholapur and its five aud a half dis- 
tricts. But she has a greater claim oo history 
than the settlement of the Sholapur quarrel. For 
she was the renowned Chand Bibi of Ahmed- 
nagar. In after years she made herself regent of 
her ancestral State, and uniting the rival Deccan 
houses, strove, and for a time successfully, to stem 
the torrent of Mogal invasion. To the end un- 

* The offence given was that Ramraj when taking leave of hi» 
Boble gueit did not ride so far wib him as Marolonan etiquette — 
inoreexaoiiog than Hindu etiqnette— demanded. From ihis incident 
mnd its enining consequence Briggs, the translator of the Ferishta^ 
flagely mcraliies on the importance of studying the eustoms of the 
people who live round us. Bamraf s bead was cut off by his conqaerors, 
was •mbalmed and was till recently to be seen at Bijapur. It used to 
be carried round on a pole on high days and holidays and possiblj 


conquered she died murdered by her own troops. 
During her lifetime she won from the chivalroua 
enemy the title of Chand Sultana. And 350 year» 
after her death Meadows Taylor, himself stationed 
fkt Sholapur, wrote the tale of her life and called 
it the Story of a Noble Queen. 

After the fall of Bijapur, Sholapur went to the 
Mogal conquerers. Prince Azam gave it to 
ShahUy who divided its revenues with the j6rat and 
great Nizam. By the battle of Eharda, Nana 
Phadnavis won it all and wide lands besides for 
his young master, the 2Dd Madhavrao. And in 
1818, it was to Sholapur that Bajirao II's army,. 
defeai)ed at Ashta, retreated. On the 10th May 
1818, bis spiritless force was dispersed never to 
re-assemble, and on the 14th, the fort with its 
garrison, surrendered to General Munro. And so 
with this final flicker, Sholapur passed out of 

The fort* has nothing in common with the usual 
Marat ba fastness perched upon a cUfi and owing 
less to human than to Nature's hands. The 
Sholapur fort stands on the open plain, and con- 
sists of a square enclosed by heavy walls and a 
wide encircling moat. Inside the walls are ban- 

* Forts are said in the Mahabharata to be of six kinds. 1. Desert 
forts. 2. Hill forts. 3. Ground forts. 4. Mnd forts. 5. Men forts. 6. 
Jungle forts. Sholapnr, I take it, would be a ground fort. A inan 
fort is an unfortified town like Sparta, whose safety rested on the 
tourage of her hoplites. The same idea occurs in Campbells lines : — 
*^ Britannia needs no bulwarks, 
Kg towers along the steep.^^ 


quettes for tbe sharp shooters, and here and there 
embrasures mark where in old days the ganners 
laid their cannon. Jutting out from the walls are 
several great towers. And of two ghastly stories 
are told. Under one called the Jaccha tower, a 
pregnant woman was buried alive. When first 
erected its foundations repeatedly gave way. The 
Brahmans were consulted, and they said that 
Mahakali or the spirit of time and place was 
angry. Now Mahakali is honoured both East 
and West. She is the spirit who snatches away 
from bridegrooms their brides. It is to frighten 
her that rice is thrown at Christian weddings, and 
it is to hit her in case she should be peeping in at 
the carriage window that a slipper is hurled after 
the vehicle that bears away the married pair. It 
is in her honour that in England house-warming 
parties are given, that in France they hang the 
cr^maillere, and that in India they perform the 
ceremony called Vastushanti. Mahakali was 
angry, said the Brahmans. How was she to be 
appeased ? By the sacrifice of a living pregnant 
woman was the reply. The poor widow of a 
Liingayat Bania was offered by her brother-in-law 
as the victim. She was buried alive and the 
tower stands firm to this day. But though the 
tower moves not tbe widow's ghost gets at times 
restless. And to quiet her, the descendants of 
her brother-in-law, now and ever since Patils 
of Sholapur, offer on the Varshapratipada or first 
day of the new year, oil and cocoanuts, a lugada, 


(dress) and a choli (bodice) for the womao, 
and a little dhotar and turban for the tiny child 
that never saw the day. Of the northern tower, 
a similar story is told. There, too, the foundations 
had to be sealed with human blood, and a munja 
or unmarried, though threadgirt, boy of the Desh- 
mukh family, was buried alive beneath them. The 
blood money for the boy was a yearly grant of 
Rs. 15 which more than five centuries afterwards is 
still paid by the English Government. At the 
door of the Mahakali gate is a rough stone said to 
be the image of the goddess Mahakali herself. In 
days gone by she stood upright and sought all 
in vain to keep the English from the fort. But when 
on the 14th May 1818, Munro's troops marched in 
to martial music and with flying banners, she 
bowed her head in shame, and, as all may see, it 
droops to this day. To the south of the old fort is 
a great lake from which at any moment the moat 
can be filled with water. In the centre of the lake 
is a little island joined to the main land by a 
stone causeway and bearing in its centre a famous 
temple of Sidheshwar or iShiva self-created. After 
rambling through the fort and hearing its gruesome 
stories it is a welcome relief to walk along the 
causeway to the dark cool colonnades beyond. 
When I last visited it, the lake's surface was gay 
with lilies, and the wild duck swirled and stooped 
above its waters. On coming to the temple court- 
yard, I, as is my wont, gave a slight money ofiFering 
to the priest for worship. I turned to go, but he 


begged me and my friends to wait a moment We 
did 80, and as we lingered I saw to the west 
sharply outlined against the sky where the sun 
had set, the great Warad mill. With the rear of 
its thousand wheels and the glare of its furnaces, 
it seemed to stand for some vision of a new India 
built up by native energy and capital and guided 
by western thought ; while the old fort to the 
north rapidly fading away with the short-lived 
twilight seemed to stand for ancient and picturesque 
India, which before our eyes is vanishing for ever. 
Just then, however, the priest returned and 
presented each of us with divided cocoanuts 
containing in each half a few jasmine flowers. This 
was the prasad or return present of the God, and 
from it we knew that my humble offering had found 
favour. And so we walked back along the 
colonnades and the causeway with heads erect, 
fausti atque feltceSf for on us was the blessing of 


Near Poona, and itself a spur of the Sinhgad 
range^ stands a hill called Parvati. It is crowned 
with temples and receives its due share of worship. 
But for historical mterest it has probably no rival. 
Among its buildings one prince died of a broken 
heart, another watched his empire tumble to pieces 
like a house of cards. An English poet* has sung 
of its beauties and on its steps an heir to the throne 
of England nearly met his death. As Parvati is 
within easy reach of Poena residents and visitors, 
I have ventured to string together for their benefit 
a slight account of the famous hill. For to visit it 
without some knowledge is both unprofitable and 

Like most other celebrated Indian celestial dwel- 
lings the present gods were not the earliest to live 
n Parvati. Before they came the old hill goddess 
was already there. The common tale goes that 
one day Gopikabai, the wife of the 3rd Peshwa, 
Balaji Bajirao, suffered from a sore heel and was 

* Sir Bdwin Arnold. By a strange inaccuracy he describes a oonTersa- 
tion 9,1 Parvati between himself, a priest and a dancing girl. There are, 
howcTer, no dancing girls at Parvati and never were any. 


told that the Devi on Parvati hill was swift to 
answer prayers. Gopikabai promised, if she got 
well, to build a temple to Shiva on Parvati's 
summit. She did so and Balaji Bajirao fulfilled 
her promise. The tale told in the Peshwas' Bakhar 
is diflFerent. For there the founding of Parvati is 
^iscribed to Balaji Bajirao's wish to honour king 
Shahu to whose memory the Shivaite temple was 
erected. It is probable, however^ that this latter 
story really describes the origin of Vishnu's temple 
and the former that of Shiva's* In either event 
the pious founder of Parvati was the 3rd Peshwa 
and it is related in the Peshwa Bakhar that he sent 
the Holkar and Shinde Jaghirdars to extort for 
her temples the sacred stones of the Gandaki 
river from the Maharaja of Nepal, 

The hill is usually approached by the Shankar- 
shet Road, which winds past the tombs of unknown 
French officers once in the Maratha service, past 
the Deccan Club and a shrine to Bahiroba, himself 
like Parvati's Devi one of the earlier deities. Then 
it curves round Parvati lake — now an open ugly 
hollow— but once a beautiful sheet of water which 
the sanitary engineers alas ! condemned. The 
lake like the Parvati temples was bailt by Balaji 
Bajirao, and the tale runs that enraged with the 
slow building of the dam he himself descended 
from his elephant and began carrying stones to the 
masons. At once courtiers and soldiers sprang 
from their horses and did likewise and the dam 
soon neared completion. At a later date Mahadji 


Shinde wishing to oust Nana Phadnavis from the 
control of the second Madhavrao took the latter to 
the little Ganpati temple on the Sarasbag island in 
the centre of the lake. While rowing across, Shinde 
so poisoned the young prince's mind against the 
old statesman that they in the end quarrelled with 
terrible results to both. Madhavrao II perished in 
the Shanwar Wada. Nana Phadnavis died broken 
hearted and disgraced. But the house of Shinde 
grew till it overshadowed the whole Maratha 

On reaching the pathway that branches o£E to 
Parvati, do not continue until the steps are reached 
but turn to the right and passing under a limb tree 
walk with me towards the North. The leaves of 
this limb tree are in great request on the 1st of 
Chaitra — the Deccan New Year's day. The ordinary 
Brahmin eats but one or two because of their bitter 
taste. But the Brahmacbaris or youthful religious 
celibates, so an Indian informant told me^ eat them 
in handfuls and their bodies so far from suffering 
ill-effects wax stout and strong and their faces 
" become lustrous." A hundred yards or so 
beyond the limb tree is a little shed. Underneath 
it are kunku and shendur covered stones arranged 
so as to mark a grave. Its occupant was once a 
Mang who attended the Peshwa's rhinoceros and 
one day ended his career with its horn through 
his body. He was buried here and his disem- 
bodied spirit haunts the place. The Mhar attendant 
when I visited it said to me *phar navasala pavato * 


(he readily hearkens to prayers) and recently 
plucked feathers lying close by, showed that but a 
few minntes before a worshipper had offered a fowl 
to the Mang's ghost. A sad tale was also told 
me of this Mang's doings. On dark nights he 
spirits away fair women of high caste while sleep- 
ioig by their husbands' sides and in the early 
morning leaves them soiled and helpless on the 
roadway. Possibly erring ladies of high degree, 
surprised by daylight, may have found in the 
Mang's ill-repute a welcome shelter. But let us 
leave the Mang and still go northward. Twenty or 
thirty paces on we shall come to the realm of 
Vetal * and Mhasoba. Here indeed we enter on 
primitive theology. In the centre are two white- 
washed stones. They are Vetal and his younger 
brother Mhasoba who reign over the multitude of 
ghosts and demons that harass mankind. Bound 
them are a circle of smaller white-tipped stones. 
They are king VetaFs sowars, and a larger stone 
to the south of the royal pair but inside the circle 
of the horsemen, is their Jemadar known as 
Bhangya Bava or as we might say Brandy Billy. 
Twice a month, on the full moon and on the no- 
moon, does king Vetal at midnight ride abroad in 

• The attendant told me that this Vetal formerly liTed at Gopgaum 
in Saawad Talaka, bat that his grandfather had by bhakti or worship 
indmeed the god to come to his present abode. One night the god told 
him walk to ParTati without looking backward and next morning to 
make a monnd of stones where he saw flowers lying. He walked to 
Parrati and behind him he heard all the way the footsteps of Vetal 
and next morning flowers Jay where is now the demon ring. 


state snrrouDded by ghostly riders and ghoelAj 
elephants. Should the way-farer meet him let him 
boldly stride up to the demon-king and ask a 
favour for at such a time he will not refuse a boon. 
His greatest day, however, is Mahashivratra. On 
other occasions he but rides round Poena Gi^. 
But on that night as the Mhar attendant told me 
^' ratrabhar dhingana karito " (or as we might say, 
he plays Old Harry all night long). Sorcerers and 
especially wrestlers are his votaries and often 
before a wrestling competition one may, if one 
cares to visit the spot at midnight, see some stout 
youih bathe in the adjoining canal and then pray at 
the shriDO for victory in the morrow's tournament. 
But whoever makes offering to the god must at the 
same time present a. pipe of hemp to Bhangia 
Bawa, for he has the ear of and will '^ samjao the 

Now let us return to the east face of the hill 
glancing as we pass at the masonry post to which 
during the Peshwas' days tigers used to be tied 
while they fought with elephants. Their spirits 
have, it is believed, entered the stake, which is 
now worshipped under the title of Yaghoba or my 
lord the tiger. On the east face we shall find a 
stone stair-case. At its foot are two little monu- 
ments, one to Naghoba — the serpent who was the 
wisest among the beasts of the field — and the other 
to a saint who lived and died on Parvati's summit. 
Next let us mount the steps passing on the left a 
Musulman Pir's tomb whose restless spirit pro* 


duced litigation that greatly vexed the District 
Jiidge until finally laid by an adverse decision of 
the High Court. Half way up we pass two little 
stones each adorned with a pair of feet. The 
larger pair belonged to one Madhavrao, a Sadhu 
of the hill, and the smaller to his wife Par- 
vati, who in 1829 committed sati on this spot 

On nearly reaching the top the Brahmins will 
point out to us where the Bhor Chiefs elephant 
slipped and nearly fell with Prince Edward of 
Wales. At last the summit reached, we turn into 
the court-yard of the principal temple, that of 
Shiva. Opposite it is the nagarkhana or drum- 
house whence wild music thrice a day issues either 
to rouse the god or warn him that it is time to rest* 
A stone bull lies as usual facing the temple ball 
and in front of him may usually be seen some 
grains of rice and a bel-tree's leaf given him in 
honour of Shiva. The animal has two panoplies, 
one of silver for the Mahashivratra and such great 
days and one — ^its second best — of copper for less 
important fites. Inside the temple the royal cobra 
rears its hood over Shiva's " pindi '' and behind 
it are images of his queen Parvati and their son 
Ganeslu At each comer of the court-yard is a 
little shrine sacred to Vishnu, to the hill Devi, to 
Ganesh and to Surya or the Sun. And the latter's 
chariot drawn by a strange seven-headed animal 
reminds one forcibly of the splendid horses which 
prance and bear Helios so gaily in Flaxman's 
drawing. To the north is a railed window whence 


the last Peshwa watched the battle of Kirkee. And 
it is certain that nowhere else can so good a view 
be obtained of the straight road along which Bapn 
Gokhale and the Bhagwa Jhenda passed to do 
battle with the troops of the English cantonment. 
In the same conrt-yard is a trap-door which covers 
the entrance to a secret passage by which^ it is 
said, the same Peshwa, a few honrs later, fled to 
the old palace in the Shanwar Peth. 

Let ns now leave Shiva's conrt-yard and skirt- 
ing the southern wall look down the hill's edge. 
We shall see a vast compound girt by a mined 
stone wall. This is the old Ramana or enclosure 
where Balaji Bajirao paid dakshina to Brahmins 
by thousands. The cost one year rose to sixteen 
lakhs and the Peshwa was forced at last to examine 
Brahmin applicants as to their holiness and learn- 
ing. And the chronicle of the Peshwas relates in 
all seriousness that tbe Eonkanastha Brahmins 
passed most frequently the examiner's tests.* 
Due west of Shiva's temple we shall enter a small 
enclosure over which several bel-trees hang their 
rounded fruit. Therein a small temple^to Eartik- 
swami covers two idols. One in marble was 
injured by the lightning that destroyed Bajirao II's 
palace and according to Hindu practice has 
been put on one side for a less costly but intact 
one. Who was Kartikswami ? He was Ganpati's 
elder brother but not born of Parvaii. The tale 

* Vide Peshwa^s Bakhar, pages 54-57. The Peshwai were, ct 
eonne, themselyes EonkanasthaB. 


mns that once Agni stole Shiva's vital essence 
hoping thereby to rival in might the dark-tbroated 
lord of Kailas. But the latter's fiery blood burnt 
the weaker veins of Agni and he was glad to cast 
it from him into the bodies of his own six unmar- 
ried daughters. They became pregnant and to 
liide their shame brought on each of them a 
premature birth. The unformed children thrown 
together in a corner coalesced and became the lord 
Kartikswami ^; and his idols to-day have six 
mouths to show his sextuple origin. Somewhere 
close by the third Peshwa, Balaji Bajirao, the 
founder of the temples, killed by the news of 
Fanipat, breathed his last. But either through 
ignorance or wUfuluess the priests refuse to point 
out the spot. 

One temple remains, that of Vishnu. Opposite 
the hall entrance is a figure of his vaban or steed, 
the eagle. For Vishnu's incarnations have been 
martial princes and all the earth over the eagle 
has been the emblem of the world-conqueror from 
Vishnu's Garuda to the a'^les napoleoniennes^ 
On the door is an image of Ganpati and below it 
.is the hideous face of Kirtimukh. Neither — I 
speak of course as a la j man and subject to correc- 
tion — seems really in place. As for Ganpati — 
passe encore ! — for in the Deccan he is to be found 
everywhere from the temples of the other gods to 
the Shri Ganeshayanamah with which the Pur- 

• For this reason KartikawMni is alao ealled Shadaaan. His 
Tahan la the peacock. 


anas begin. But Eirtimukh sprang from the frown 
of Shiva's eyebrow when he received Jalaodhai's 
challenge and was called on either to give np Par- 
vati and his treasure or meet the Demons in battleu 
And the boon that Kirtimnkh received was to 
find a place always in Shiva's temples. However 
one must not be hypercritical and the Hindu archi* 
tect like the enraged naval officer in the story 
likes to feel that he has omitted nothing. Let ua 
next look inside and there we shall see Vishnu 
himself and at his feet sits his last great incarna- 
tion Balkrishna. The latter, as the name shows, 
is not here in the same guise as when he fought 
on the side of the Pandava brothers ana made 
Dwarka his capital ; but as he appeared in his 
wondrous childhood and won the hearts and the 
loves of the 16,000 Gopikas. 

To the south stands, hiding the view of the 
Sinhgad mountains, the outer shell of Bajirao II's 
palace. It has, however, no history for it was 
never finished and lightning struck it two years 
before the English cannon blew away the Pesh-* 
wa's Empire. 

And now before we descend let us mount for a 
moment the northern wall. Poena City and Poona 
Camp unroll for us their vast panorama. At 
either end sleep scions of the great rival houses 
of Shinde and Holkar.* In the centre rise the 
square towers of the Shanwar Wada where so 

* Mahadji Bhinde's tomb is at Wanavdi and Yitbaji Holkar^s 
eoath of Holkar's bridge. 


many Peshwas fought and intrigned, loved and 
ruled. To the north flash the waters of the Mula 
Mutha now deepened hy the great Band but once 
low enough to let Elphinstone and his escort 
escape from Vinchurkar's horse. To the east are 
the bold outlines of four spurred Chaturshringi in 
whose side is a cave where the Pandavs rested on 
their way to Viratnagar. And at its feet is the 
spot where by a strange fatality the Peshwa's 
vakil met Sir Charles Malet, the first British 
envoy, and on which now swing the gates of the 
Ganeshkhind palace. Far to the south rise Torna, 
dear to Shivaji and Sinhgad, where Tanaji iy alusre 
met an heroic death. And between them the 
waters of Khadakwasla catch the last rays of the 
sinking sun and throw up a blaze of light amid 
the gathering darkness. 

Let us now descend, and as behind us the 
evening drums begin to roll scaring away the 
demons and warning the gods that it is time to 
rest, let us consider how we may escape un- 
mulcted to our carriages. But of this there is but 
little hope. For, as in the poem of Propertius, 
beauty could not save Nereus nor his strength 
Achilles,* so all our wit and cunning will avail 
us but little against the multitudinous demands of 
the mendicant devotees. 

* Nerea non fades non Tis exemit Achillem. 


Absorbed in the contemplation of our own splen- 
did empire, we are eometimes apt to forget that 
other European nations have also played glorious 
parts in India. On a recent homeward voyage, I 
was reminded of this by the presence on boardship 
of a Portuguese official of high rank, tall, courteous 
and wholly charming. Finding that I was interest- 
ed in things historical, he promised to obtain for 
me a recent book* published in Goa, giving an 
account of the relations between the Goanese 
Government and the Great Mogals. The promise 
was kept and the book duly arrived. But it was in 
Portuguese of which I knew not a single word. 
However, I had in my youth learnt Latin, French 
and Italian and so like the Austrian ambassadors, 
sent to win over Louis XV against Frederic the 
Great, I did not despair. Nor were my expectations 

* Uma dona Portnsnesa na corte do grand-Mogol bj Iimael GradM. 
I must express my acknowledgmentfi to the learned aathor who, at my 
friend^s request, sent me a copy cf his work. Of its literary merita it 
would be absQid presumption on my part to offer an opinion. But 
there can be no question as to the author'^s ?ast erudition, 
and Western languages leem to oome equally easily to him. 


ill-founded for, with a grammar and dictionary and 
the long honrs of the outward sea*voyage, I was 
able to gather most of the book's excellent con- 
tents. And I now venture tbere&om to sketch 
for readers the career of a lady who played 
a great part in the history of the Portuguese 

The early years of the 16th century brought un- 
exampled prosperity to Portugal. Five centuries of 
uninterrupted conflicts with the Moors had made 
all its small population soldiers. The royal house, 
founded by a bastard prince of Burgundy, had been 
unusually rich in able men. And ruled and rulers 
alike had with wonderful quickness grasped the 
possibilities of their long, coast line, and bad laid 
aside ambitions of Mediterranean for those of world 
empire. In 1494, a Papal Bull had divided the 
undiscovered earth between the Portuguese and the 
Spaniards, and in all directions the Lisbon Govern- 
ment furnished expeditions to make good the title 
conferred by the Vatican. Everywhere the Portu- 
guese soldiers proved invincible, and everywhere 
administralors trained in the Lisbon offices intro- 
duced settled government in the train of conquest. 
One daring band under JoSo de Nova seized 
Ascension. Another under Pedro Cabral annexed 
the vast empire of Brazil. A third under Ame- 
rigo Vespucci, first of the Caucasian stock, heard 
the roar of the Purana as it rushes towards the 
Plate river and the South Atlantic. A fourth 
under Vasco de Gama realised the visions of 



Henry the Navigator and, donbbng the Gape 
of Good Hope, headed straight for the Indian 

Probably never in its history had India, as at this 
time, been so helpless to resist foreign aggression. 
Hindustan was still bleeding from the sienseless 
slaughter of Tamerlane's invasion. In the south, 
the great Bahamani kingdom, which in Mahamud 
Taglak's reign, had fallen away from Delhi, was 
split up into five fragments. Of these, the two in 
possession of the South Western seaboard, Bijapnr 
and Ahmednagar, were not only at deadly enmity 
with each other but engaged in constant strife 
with the Hindu power of Vijayanagar. It was m 
easy task for the talented Portuguese captains to 
take advantage of their distracted state, and to 
obtain by cession or conquest large territories on 
the Western Coast. While the real superiority of 
the^ Portuguese sailors enabled them to secure at 
the expense of the Mopla merchants a monopoly of 
the western trade. 

If we pass over 50 or 60 years, however, we 
find the positions of the two countries reversed^ 
The immense efforts of the opening century had 
been too much for the slight resources of Portugal 
A minority at home, unsuccessful campaigns in 
Morocco, priestly influence, and the introduction of 
negro labour had added to her distress. In India, 
on the other hand, the descendants of Tamerlane 
were doing their best to remedy the efiects of his 
crimes. In 1526, Babar had won Panipat and, for 


himself and his successors, the throne of Delhi. 
Thereon was now seated a ruler of extraordinary 
nailitary and civil talents, who after gathering into 
his own hands the threads of a vast empire, was in 
every direction extending its frontiers with the 
skill and the restless energy of Bonaparte. In ten 
years he had subdued all Rajputana except the 
Sesodia fastnesses in the Arawalis. A bloodless 
campaign had in 1572 ended the Gujarat kingdom. 
And, in 1581, a detachment of the Mogal army 
attacked the Portuguese territories of Bassein and 
Damaun. They were repelled by the Governor 
Martini Alffonso de Mello, but the repulse would, 
as in other cases, have been followed by an attack 
in force which surely would have succeeded had 
the Emperor not been stopped by something in his 
eyes more terrible than the Portuguese cannon, 
and more persuasive than the lips of their ambas- 
sadors — ^the frowns and the tears of a Lusitanian 
lady. Instead of war he made a treaty and sent 
envoys of congratulation to the new Portuguese 
King Philip II of Castle. 

Who was the lady who did such signal service to 
her country ? She has hitherto been styled Maria 
Makany, Akbar's Christian wife, whose tomb is 
still visible at Agra. But Mr. Gracias has with 
great acuteness and research been able to trace her 
origin. In the reign of King John III there was 
founded at Lisbon a home for orphan girls of good 
family. When these girls reached women's state 
they were shipped off to the various Portuguese 


colonies to make wives for the officials and settlers. 
The ladies did not, however, always reach their 
destination but, like the Moorish king's bride in 
Boccaccio, sometimes fell into wrong hands. One 
of them was rescued from a wreck to become queen 
of the Maldives. Another, Maria Mascarenhas, 
captured with her sister by the Dutch, was brought 
to Surat and thence sold at the Mogal Court, 
where she became one of Akbar's queens, and is 
known to history under the Musalman corruption 
of her name Maria Makany. 

Her sister's fate was if possible more romantic 
still. In 1560, Prince Jean Philippe Bourbon, a 
cadet of the house of Navarre, fled from France as 
a result of a fatal duel, and making his way from 
Madras to Delhi, applied to enter Akbar's service. 
He was received with great distinction, given the 
title of Nawab, appointed governor of the royal 
harem, and wedded to Juliana Mascarenhas, Maria's 
sister. The two Portuguese ladies thus form- 
ed a strange link between the great house of 
Chagatai, and the no less splendid line that for two 
centuries overawed Europe from the throne of 

Having saved her country 's fosseesions, Maria 
Mascarenhas next tried to save her husband's souL 

* The descendants of Prince Jean Philippe Bonrbon are still to be 
found in India. Ooe branch until recently held a jaghir in the 
Bhopal State, and a member of their family some 20 or 30 years held 
the post of Prime Minister to iU Nawab. For an account of this 
family, 9id$ Co'onel Kincaid's " Uigtory of the bourbons in India " 
and Bocsselet makeb a mention of them in his ** Bajahs des lades.^ 


Her own palace had long been adorned with fres- 
coes of the AnnunciatioDy and, as a result of the 
new treaty with Goa, Akbar was induced to invite 
to his Court a band of missionaries qualified to ex- 
pound the Christian doctrine. Among them went 
the Jesuit Rodolfo Acquaviva, whose dialectic 
talents, according to the Oriente Conquistado, 
proved too much for Akbar's mullahs. It must, 
however, be confessed that if the latter were cor- 
rectly reported, so to triumph was not a difficult 
task. They attacked the Christian religion by 
alleging that the Bible had originally been verbally 
the same as the Koran, but had been altered to its 
present form in order to introduce the idolatrous 
worship of the Trinity. And they asserted that 
Mahomad's mission had been to restore the pure 
faith which Christ had taught. Such an allegation, 
unsustained by any evidence, was easily ridiculed 
out of Court. But the learned Jesuit's reply does 
not, to my mind, give proof of much ability. His 
criticism was purely destructive, and he made no 
attempt to show how the teaching of Christ was 
superior to that of Mahomed. Nevertheless, what 
the contending saints lacked in brain-power they 
made up for in lung-power. And as they warmed 
to their work, the Emperor, at whose invitation 
they had assembled in the Ibadat EJiana, found 
that to conquer Hindustan was an easier task 
than to calm this controversial cyclone. He was 
finally obliged himself to flee deafened from 
the room, leaving the disorderly conference to 


oontinae all night until exhanntion silenced it 
towards morning. 

Snbsequent to this the mullahs, wearied with 
argument, made to the missionaries what, as it 
must fairly be admitted, was a sporting offer. 
They expressed themselves willing to enter a fiery 
fornace if the missionaries did likewise. The 
former were to be armed with a Koraui the latter 
with a Bible, and the fire was to judge between 
them. The missionaries replied that they had 
already won a judgment in the tribunal of reason 
that miracles were only intended to supplement 
evidence, and that where reasons were as in the 
case of Christian truth, so clear and manifest, it 
was merely tempting God to ask for miracles with- 
out necessity. Such arguments could scarcely 
have convinced Akbar, and the distinct favour 
with which he regarded Christianity must only 
have been due to his wife's pressure. On one 
occasion he did homage to the crucifix in the Por- 
tuguese Chapel, first in the Musalman style by a 
profound reverence, then in the Christian way by 
kneeling in front of it, and lastly by prostrating 
himself like a Hindu before an idol Indeed, in 
the religion which he afterwards invented, it is 
possible, as I think, to trace an attempt to recon- 
cile the conflicting claims of his queen and his 
conscience. But, although Christianity never 
won over Akbar as a convert, Queen Maria's reli- 
gion yet made considerable way. Ranke men- 
tions three princes of the Royal House who were 


duly baptised, and Gustave Le Bon affirms that in 
Jehangir's reign the number of distinguished 
Christians at Court was sixty. That graceless 
prince himself hung in his palace images of 
Christ and the Virgin, and in a fit of drunken 
ezpansiveness declared that Christianity was of 
all religions the best. For its followers were 
doubly blest. They were free to eat both beef 
and pork. 

Akbar died in 1605, and from the evidence col« 
looted by Mr. Gracias, it seems probable that Maria 
survived him. If so we may perhaps trace to her 
influence two great diplomatic victories which the 
Portuguese gained in the early years of Jehangir's 
reign. The first was the reply given by the Em- 
peror to Hawkins, the first English envoy. He 
oame with a letter from James I, but was told in 
open Durbar that the great Mogal could not 
demean himself by corresponding with so insigni- 
ficant a kinglet. The second was an o£Fen6ive and 
defensive treaty drawn up between the delegates 
of the Emperor and of the Goanese Viceroy 
Dom Jeromyno de Azevedo. The following is a 
translation of the first article in the Portuguese 
text :— 

'^ Seeing that the English and the Dutch come 
in the guise of merchants to these countries in 
order to settle in them and to conquer lands, be- 
cause they themselves live in Europe in wretched- 
ness and destitution ; and (as) their presence in 
India will cause harm to all as was shown in the 


war which they brought about between Mogalg 
and Portuguese (sic), the said delegates will agree 
that the King Jehangir and the Viceroy of India 
will not trade with the aforesaid nations nor will 
they be received into their harbours or sold 
ammunitions or anything else ; first the Viceroy 
and his successors will be obliged to drive them 
from the Gujerat sea within three months of their 
arrival^ and if they put into the Surat harbour, the 
king permits the Portuguese to land the necessary 
cannon to defeat them and drive them aveay and 
will give the Portuguese all the help necessary to 
do so. And the English, who are at present in 
the lands and territories of the said king, will quit 
them, together with their factories, via Masuli- 
patam. " 

Here we must leave Maria Mascarenhas, but 
even though she may have tried to further her 
country's interests at our expense we still owe 
her a deep debt of gratitude. In 1640 Olivarez, 
driven to despair by the military activity of 
Richelieu, called out the arri&reban of Portugal 
and Spain. The Catalans, ever ready to rise 
against Castile, sprang to arms and proclaimed 
themselves a republic under French protection. 
Fired by their example, Portugal threw off the 
Spanish yoke and offered her crown to John, 
Duke of Braganza, in whose veins flowed the 
blood of the old Burgundian line. Catalonia, 
deserted by France, had to submit. But Portugal 

* The fleets came e^oh year with the fayonring wind. 


won the Eaglish alliance and her own independ- 
ence by offering with a great dowry the Princess 
Catherine to Charles 11. Now in that dowry were 
included the harbour and island of Bombay, 
which the charms of Queen Maria had saved from 
the Mogal conqueror. Thus, but for her, Cathe- 
rine of Braganza's dowry, must have been sought 
elsewhere. And the Presidency of Bombay 
might now be cramped within Ascension or Ma- 
deira island ; or, worse still, ^' urbs prima in Indis " 
might be located in some fever-haunted swamp 
among the mouths of the Amazon. 




In chosing as my subject the Poena Peshwas, 
I was chiefly guided quite apart from the local 
interest of the subject by the circumstance that so 
far in my humble opinion, sufficient justice has not 
been done to the achievements of this extraordinary 
family. There has been too great a tendency, 
certainly among English writers, to overlook the 
real change of dynasty that took place when Balaji 
Bajirao made his coup d'^tai The first dynasty 
in historical Maharashtra consisted of Shivaji, his 
sons Shambhu and Rajaram, and Shambhu's son 
Shahu. The second dynasty consisted of Balaji 
Bajirao, Madhavrao I, Narayenrao, Madhavrao II 
and Bajirao Raghunathrao. These two dynasties 
occupied three periods. During the first of these 
periods the Maratha kings both reigned and ruled* 
During the second period, that is, during the last 
half of Shahu's life the Maratha kings reigned 
and the Peshwas ruled. During the third period, 
t\e.j from Shahu's death to the English conquest, 
the Peshwas both reigned and ruled. The Mara- 
tha dynasty no doubt still survived but as State 
prisoners only, and exercised no more influence on 


the policy of Maharashtra than did the Eastern 
Emperors on Italian affairs at the time of Odoacer. 
In the course of the lecture I have endeavour* 
ed to present before you the second dynasty 
as a whole. And, to do so, I have found it neces^ 
sary to sketch not only the third period, but the 
second period also of Maratha history. From this 
sketch I have omitted everything that was not 
essential to the narrative. I have even done so at 
the risk of producing a mere arid and jejune string 
of facts. But the time at my disposal, both for 
preparation and for addressing you, has been so 
short that this was inevitable. 

Let us first approach the subject with the query, 
what is a Peshwa ? Lord Macaulay in his essay 
on Warren Hastings defined him in the following 
words : " Peshwa or Mayor of the palace, a great 
hereditary magistrate, who kept a court with 
kingly state at Poena and whose authority was 
obeyed in the spacious provinces of Aurangabad 
and Bijapur.'' Now in another essay, Macaulay 
charged Robert Montgomery with having in one of 
his lines achieved the worst of all similitudes. 
Mr. Montgomery might possibly have retorted that 
his critic had achieved the worst of all definitions. 
The Peshwa was not a Mayor either in the literal 
or in the derived sense. Being a Brahmin, he was 
not likely to have held any high office except a 
priestly one in a Maratha's palace. He was not a 
Magistrate either hereditary or elective. Aurang- 
abad was primarily « part of the Moglai. And the 


Peehwa's authority extended not merely over 
Bijapnr but was co-eztenBive with the Maratha 
Empire. What then was a Peshwa ? The title, as 
the name denotes, was a Persian one and seems to 
have been introduced by the Bahamani kings. 
For, Grant Duff mentions, that in 1529 A. D. Boora 
Khan Nizam Shah of Bijapur made a Brahmin 
Eavarsing, a Peshwa. The title is thus very akin 
to the English one of premier, which taken from the 
French title of premier ministre, has now become an 
integral part of the English system of government. 
The first Peshwa in Maratha times was Sham- 
raji Pant who held that office under Shivaji in 
A. D. 1656. He was succeeded by Moropant 
Pingaie who was the first among the Asht 
Pradhans or the King's Cabinet, and from his 
time onwards the Peshwa was the leading 
Minister of the Crown. The next question to 
arise is how did the office become hereditary in 
one family and what was its origin ? The sur- 
name of this family was Bhat, a word, which 
although signifying priest, had become just an ordi- 
nary fiamily name, just as we say Mr. Priest or 
Mr. Vicars. The father of the founder of the 
dynasty was one Vishwanath* Bhat who was the 
Deshmukh of Shriwardhao, a Konkani town near 
the mouth of the Savitri. He had two sons, 
Balaji and Janoji. On their father's death they 
acted as Joint Deshmukhs until the Sidi of Janjira 
seized Janoji, took him to Janjira, and there putting 

• Vide PesbWft's Bakhar by Mr. Sane, 


him in a sack flung him into the sea. Balaji 
escaped to the town of Vel where he took sheltcfir 
with one Balaji Mahdev Bhanu. It was, however, 
impossible to remain so near to Janjira, and Bhanu, 
in the true spirit of friendship, left with his two 
brothers Hari and Ramaji to their homo and accom- 
panied his friend to Satara. The starting of these 
two adventurers had a great effect on the subsequent 
history of Maharashtra. For, one became the an* 
cestor of the Poena Peshwas, and the other the an- 
cestor of their greatest Minister, Nana Phadnavis. 

The time they reached Satara was propitious to 
adventure. For Shahu, released on AurangzeVs 
death, was trying to recover his kingdom from the 
hands of his aunt Tarabai. On Shahu's side were 
Khanderao Dabhade and Dhanaji Jadhav and in 
March, 1708, Shahu was by their aid formally 
installed as Maharaja Chatrapati. Among Dhana- 
ji's karkuns was one Abaji Purandare * the 
ancestor of the noble house of that name and then 
kulkarni of Saswad. To him Balaji Vishwanath 
attached himself and by his influence secured a 
post under Dhanaji Jadhav recently appointed by 
Shahu as Senapati or Commander-ia-Chie£ Balaji 
Vishwanath's talents soon made themselves known 
and Dhanaji Jadhav before his death in 1709 
gave him complete control of hh finances. This 
favour, however, almost led to Balaji's extinction. 
Chandrasen Jadhav. Dhanaji'e son, regarded the 
new favourite with intense jealousy which was 

• Qraad Uat, i SOS. ^ 


ejasperated by Balaji's appointment by Shahu^ 
after Dhanaji's death to check the Baja's share oat 
of the Senapati's collections. A trifling hunting 
dispute served as an excuse and Balaji was, to* 
gether with his two sons, forced to ride for his life 
to Pandugad where Chandrasen beseiged him. 
Fortunately for Balaji he had been at the time 
employed by the king. Nothing else would have 
saved him. As it was Shahu sent the royal troops 
under Jadhav's rival Nimbalkar who defeated the 
Senapati and rescued the besieged. Balaji now 
became a regular servant of the king and rapidly 
rose. The long regency and the endless wars had 
made the king's authority over his generals little 
more than nominal. Jadhav abandoned his service. 
Thorat set up as a freebooter. Angriia was openly 
independent. The rise of Balaji, however, added 
the necessary vigour to restore the kingly autho- 
rity. Thorat was after some difficulty captured 
and although Angria was at first successful his very 
success ultimately caused the supremacy of BalajL 
The then Peshwa was Bahiropant Pingale. To 
him was given the command of the expedition 
against Angria. He conducted it with such im* 
becility that his troops were completely defeated. 
The fort of Lohgad which commands the Bhor 
ghat fell with the Peshwa into Angria's hands, 
and that daring pirate prepared, as it was 
believed, to march on Satara. In this supreme 
moment Shahu turned to Balaji Vishwanath. 
The latter by skilful diplomacy won over Angria 


and by combining their armies in a common 
attack on the Sidi of Janjira stripped the latter 
of enough land to pay for a bribe to Angria, and 
thus in one campaign secured for his master a 
powerful ally and avenged the death of his own 
brother. King Shahu was overjoyed and remov- 
ing Bahiru Pingle from the rank of Peshwa 
appointed in 1714 Balaji Vishwanath in his place. 
This I take it was one of the most dazzling rises 
in history. In 1708 he had come a homeless 
fugitive to a foreign land Six years later he had 
become supreme in its councils. Nor was he 
unworthy of his fortune. Under his guidance the 
uncertain policy of Shahu's early reign disappeared. 
His government once again reverted to the daring 
policy of Shivaji. The unfruitful depredations of 
isolated leaders gave place to a definite scheme of 
conquest. In fact, there came over the foreign re- 
lations of Maharashtra such a change as that 
which was seen in the Revolutionary Government 
at the advent of Bonaparte or in Rome when the 
timid caution of the Senate gave place to the 
bold imperialism of Lucullus. 

It was not long before Balaji's energy and 
talents obtained for his master a great reward. 
In 1712 A. D. Aurangzeb's son and successor 
Sultan Mauzum died, and his grandson Ferokshiar 
obtained the throne. His success in doing so 
was chiefly due to the courage and ability of two 
high-born Mahomedan brothers, AbduUahkhan 
and Hussein Ali Khan» usually known in history 


as the Syods. But once on the throne the Em- 
peror wished to destroy his allies. They in turn 
appealed to the Marathas and in 1718 a combined 
army under Balaji Vishwanath marched on Delhi 
The Emperor was seized and not long afterwards 
murdered and the Marathas obtained in 1719 a 
full recognition of their Swaraj over such terri- 
tories as Shivaji occupied at his death and the 
Chauth plu$ 10 per cent, called the Sardeshmukhi 
on practically the whole Deccan. They seem also 
to have obtained the Syuds' tacit consent to levy 
tribute in Malwa and Gujerat 

This was the crowning achievement of this able 
and loyal man. He found Shahu's dominion a 
distracted principality. He left it a growing and 
vigorous empire. In the very height of hii 
fame and in the full tide of success his frame gave 
way beneath the labours imposed on it. In 
October, 1720, he retired to Saswad where he 
lingered for only a few days. 

About the same time there died another 
Maratha officer of great distinction, Khanderao 
Dhabade. Descended from the Mukadam of 
Talegaon he had earned Rajaram's gratitude by 
carrying him an immense distance from the 
besieged fort of Panala. Raised eventually to 
the rank of Senapati or Commander-in-Chief, he 
had also established himself firmly in Gujarat. 
His relations with Balaji Vishwanath seem to 
have remained friendly, but on their death there 
sprang up a great and iiettal rivalry between their 


sons Trimbakrao and Bajirao. Bajirao Balaji was 
then in the flower of his age and had hoped^ as a 
matter of course, to succeed his father as Peshwa. 
But this bold, aspiring, extremely able man met 
with unexpected obstacles. The speedy rise and 
the great talents of his father had awakened the 
jealousy of the local magnates. At their head was 
*Shriniwasrao Pratinidhi of Aundh, a wise man 
and brave soldier and perhaps best known to 
fame as the founder of Mahuli. He strongly 
objected to the promotion of the young Chitpawan 
over the heads of the Asht Pradhans. Even- 
tually, however, Shahu made as a kind of compro- 
mise Trimbakrao Dhabade Senapati and Bajirao 
Peshwa. The former at once allied himself to the 
old Deccan party and the rivalry of the two factions 
became clearly defined when Bajirao proposed to 
extend the Maratha conquest beyond Malwa into 
Hindustan* The Pratinidhi opposed him on the 
ground that it was time to consolidate the king's 
possessions, to restore the finances and to intro- 
duce a more careful discipline in the army. Baji- 
rao, however, knew that such a policy would play 
his enemies' game. Peace was to the advantage 
of the hereditary nobles with powerful local in- 
terest. War was necessary to the schemes of 
the brilliant adventurer, who could only maintain 
himself by the creation of a mercenary army and 
a succession of victories. He, therefore, scoffed 
at the Pratinidhi's timid counsels, and asked how 

• Also called Shripatrao. 


Shivaji wonld have fared had he been gnided by 
them. He then disclosed that his policy aimed at 
no less than the conqnest of the whole empire of 
the Hogals. *^ Strike, " he cried^ ^' strike at the 
tmnk of the withering tree and the branches 
must fall of themselves." His eloquence won the 
day and embarked the Marathas on a vigorous 
policy of universal aggression. 

The period was favourable to the Peshwa's 
schemes. The Mogal em^nre was reduced to a 
condition bordering on paralysis by the dissen- 
sions of the Emperor's ministers. The Syuds 
had in their turn been displaced by the Nissam- 
ul-mulky a Turani Mogal of great talents and 
experience. He again, disgusted at the folly and 
the levity of the new Emperor, threw up the 
post of vazier to be first governor and th^i in- 
dependent ruler of the Deccan. Bajirao sought the 
line of least resistance, and in I7269 invaded first 
Malwa and then the Camatic as far as Seringa- 
patam. The next year's victim was the Nissam, 
who, it must be admitted, deserved to the full, 
his punishment. He tried to take advantage of 
the division of theMaratha empire made at Shahu's 
accession and set up Shamb^i, the Chief of 
Kolhapur, as heir to the whole. Bajirao would not 
stoop to negotiation, and after a brilliant campaign 
in which the old soldier was completely out- 
generalled, forced him to accept most humilating 
terms. But here the Peshwa was obliged to halt. 
A new and far more formidable danger threatened 


hun. The Decoan party led by Trimbakrao 
Dabixade broke into open revolt and allied them- 
eelves with the Nizam. Here again, however, Baji- 
rao's talents triumphed. He fell on the Dabhade's 
army near Dabhoi in Gujerat, and after a desperate 
stmggle in which the Senapati perished destroyed 
it. The Nizam in haste secured his safety by an 
agreement not to molest the future action of the 
Marathas, and thus opened to the Peshwa, now 
supreme master of Maharashtra, a safe road to 
Delhi. Nor was Bajirao slow to take it. After a 
short and successful campaign against the Sidi of 
Janjira, the grand army under Bajirao advanced on 
Delhi. Close by he pitched his camp, defeated two 
Mogal forces and was not bought off eventually, 
except by a large indemnity and by the complete 
cession of the whole of Malwa now known as 
Central India. While this brilliant campaign was 
in progress, Bajirao's brother Ohimnaji was carry- 
ing out the new policy with no less vigour to 
the west. The Portuguese, who for many years 
had had a footing on the Malabar coast, joined 
on account of some real or fancied grievance, the 
pirate Angria in an attack on Euolaba. A great 
Maratha army under Chimnaji hastened to the 
spot. First Bandra and Salsette fell, and then, after 
a furious seige, the Portuguese were compelled to 
fiurrender Bassein, and the whole seaboard of the 
Northern Konkan was added to the rapidly-grow- 
ing Maratha possessions. To the cession of Malwa, 
however, the Nizam objected and once again he 


and Bajirao appeared on opposite sidee. The latter 
after two successful campaigns found at last tlmt 
his resources were unequal to the subjugation of the 
Deccan. The third campaign ended undecisively, 
and Bajirao overwhelmed with debt, harassed by 
disease and in despair at this check to the progress 
of his schemes hoped to recoup himself by another 
successful war in Hindustan. Death, however, over- 
took him on the banks of the Nerbudda where he 
died on the 28th April, 1740. He had been for 20 
years Peshwa and if his policy had been of the 
too forward kind he yet had achieved brilliant 
things. He had made himself, with hardly the 
exception of the king, the supreme master of the 
State. He had fought with success the greatest 
soldiers in India, and if he met with a check in the 
end it was perhaps because, as Shriniwasrao had 
indicated, consolidation should have preceded 
conquest. His character is perhaps best indicated 
by a story told in the Peishwa's Bakhar. The 
Emperor wished to know what manner of man it 
was who led from Satara armies to threaten the 
august throne of Delhi, so he sent a painter to 
depict him as he happened first to see him. The 
painter found Bajirao on horseback with his spear 
slung carelessly over his shoulder. As he went 
he picked the ears of corn and unhusked them 
between his hands and ate them. In this posi- 
tion the painter drew him and shewed his picture 
to the Emperor. The latter looked at it and said 
" vmh shaitan hat " and gave the order " Baji Bao^ 


gansht samjoot padoon wates lavle pahije.^^^ 
- The firm hold that the Bhat family had taken 
in the Satara State is well exemplified by the 
eircmnstance that Bajirao's son Balaji succeeded 
him as Peshwa without serious opposition. But 
it was not long before the Dhabade faction raised 
up a new enemy in Raghuji Bhosle. This person^ 
the founder of the afterwards famous house of 
Nagpur, had obtained Shahu's favour by his skill 
as a hunter and sealed it by his marriage with the 
sister of Shahu's wife Sakvarbai. The subject 
©f the dispute was Raghoji's claim to levy in- 
dependent tribute in Bengal. Balaji took the field 
and proved himself like his father and grand- 
father a skilful general. Raghuji was defeated 
and the new Peshwa attempted to make surer 
foundations for the Kingdom. From 1746 to 1749 
he devoted himself to improving the revenue 
system nd encouraging agriculture. But towards 
the end of 1749 it was clear that King Shahu's 
long reign was coming to a close. He had no son 
and had refused to adopt one due, it is believed, 
to his knowledge that his nephew Ram Raja was 

Sakvarbai, Shahu's wife, was bitterly hostile to 
the Peshwa's domination. The crisis was there- 
fore imminent. Balaji met it with resolution and 
skill. He surrounded Satara with 30,000 men, 
and on the morning that Shahu died surprised and 
Imprisoned all the members of his family. Sak var- 

' * He is a deyil. Make terms with him and get rid of him. 


bai, his enemy, was forced to commit satL Bam 
Biga was imprisoned and the capital was trans* 
ferred from Satara to Poena. In that town 
Bajirao had already established himself in the 
fortified palace still named Shanwar Wada. Two 
stories are told to accoimt for his choice. One is 
that he saw a dog being pnrsned by a hare and so 
assmned that the dwellers on that spot were 
inyincible. The other is that his horse stumbled 
and from it he argaed that it was intended 
by Providence that he shonld remain there. 
A more probable reason was the fftvonrable 
situation of Poona, sheltered alike by Sinhgad 
and Purandhar, the latter of which had been in 
the private possession of the Bhats since the time 
of Balaji Vishwanath. 

From this date 1750 A. D. the Peshwas be* 
came ruling princes and it remains for ns to see 
how they acquitted themselves of their new duties. 
Had but ordinary good fortune waited on them the 
new masters of Maharashtra would have been 
equal to the situation. But a fresh and formidable 
peril was threatening India. In the winter of 
1747-48 Ahmedshah Abdalli, a prince of Herat 
and an old soldier of Nadir Shah, had begun a 
series of incursions across the North-West frontier. 
The Delhi empire which had received a fatal 
blow during the invasion of Nadir Shah in 1739 
was helpless. The matter eventually became so 
jaressing that in 1757 the Peshwa's brother Bagih 
nathrao led a large Maratha army to oppose the 


A%hans. Baghunathrao had more than a ioil 
share of his illustrious father's generalship and 
without difficulty drove the Afghans across 
the mountains. Unfortunately the profits of 
the expedition were far less than its cost and 
Ghimnaji's son Sadashivrao^ the Peshwa's first 
cousin and favouritOi a man of great financial and 
administrative talents, gratified his jealousy of 
Raghunathrao and made so much of the latter's 
alleged mismanagement that he at last succeeded 
in himself superseding him. The change was 
disastrous, Ahmed Shah who would have found 
Baghunathrao prohably more than a match out- 
manoeuvred Sadashivrao, hemmed him in and 
eventually utterly destroyed him, the heir appar- 
ent Vishwas Bao and the Grand Army of the 
Marathas. The disaster was too much for the 
Peshwa, who lingered but a short time after he 
learnt the news and died among the temples on 
Parvati Hill. 

As Vishwas Bao had fallen, the next heir was 
Balaji's second son Madhavrao. His task was a 
colossal one. Ahmed Shah was master of Hindu- 
stan. The Nizam was combining with Jankoji 
Jadhav to overthrow the Peshwa Government in 
favour of the old Maratha line. The treasury 
was empty. There was no army and Baghunath* 
rao was openly anxious to secure for himself the 
PeshwaL All these difficulties had to be faced 
by a boy of sixteen. Tet the great house that had 
already produced Balaji Vishwanath, Bajirao I, 


Balaji II» and Ghimnaji was not yet exhausted 
and the abilities and spirit of Madhavrao proved 
as great as any of his predecessors. Baghnnath- 
rao was conciliated. The Nizam was signally 
defeated at Bakshabhuvan. Ahmed Shah recross- 
ed the Afghan frontier. One great force ander 
the Peshwa in person advanced as far as Seringa- 
patam. Another Maratha army crossed the 
Ghambal, looted Rohilkhand, and encamped at 
Delhi By a most unlucky chance, however, this 
gallant prince had contracted consumption and 
just when his government was threatening to over 
run all India he died aged only 28 at Theur. As 
Grant Daff very justly observed. *' The plains of 
Fanipat were not more fatal to the Maratha empire 
than the early end of this excellent prince." 
We have now^ gentlemen, passed the apogee of the 
greatness of the Peshwas. I shall shortly as 
possible accompany you to their melancholy fall. 
Madhavrao's younger brother Narain Bao was 
duly installed, but Baghunatbrao first reconciled 
to and then interned by Madhavrao again aspired 
to the Peshwaship. Narain Bao was brutally 
murdered in his palace by the guards and an- 
other young prince for whom shrewd observers 
had prophesied a great future was lost to the 
Maratha empire. Baghunatbrao, however, again 
failed to secure his object. An enquiry held by 
Bam Shastri revealed that he had connived if not 
at the murder at the attack and it being shortly 
afterwards discovered that Narain Bao's widow 


Gangabai was pregnant a regency govern- 
ment was carried on in her name by the 
ministers among whom were Sakharam Bapn and 
the descendent of Balaji Vishwanath's friend 
Bhanu now famous as Nana Phadnavis, On the 
18th April, 1774, Gangabai gave birth to a son 
Madhavrao II. This put an end to Raghunath- 
rao's hopes. He, however, struggled unceasingly 
against his grand nephew's dominion. He first 
collected 30,000 men from Shinde and Holkar and 
then induced the Bombay Government to lend him 
their active support. In this way began what is 
known in English history as the First Maratha 
War. A joint English and rebel force advanced 
from Gujarat and defeated the Poena army at 
Arras. The war was, however, stopped by 
Warren Hastings from Calcutta before it reached 
any decisive stage. Raghunathrao, however, in the 
cold weather of 1779, induced the Bombay Gov- 
ernment again to assist him. But this time the 
regency were able to repel the danger. The Eng- 
lish were defeated at Wadgaon, but assistance 
arriving from Calcutta, they overran Bassein 
and a large part of the Konkan. Goddard was, 
however, repulsed near Pan well and the regency 
and the English eventually made a treaty on 
the statw quo ante basis. Raghunathrao, the 
cause of the trouble, received a handsome pen- 
fiion and died in 1784 leaving two sons, Bajirao 
and Chimnaji Appa. For the next eleven years 
Nana Phadnavis conducted the government. I da 



not propose here to detail to yon with what skill 
he did so. Enemies were rising up on many 
sides. A soldier of fortunoi Haidar AU, had esti^ 
blished and bequeathed a powerful kingdom 
to his son. Shinde had half thrown off his 
allegiance and disputed Nana Phadnavis' pre- 
eminence. The English power was rapidly grow- 
ing both in the south and the west. Nevertheless, 
Nana Phadnavis struggled desperately and on the^ 
whole successfully to check the decline of Maha* 
rashtra. Unfortunately, the effects of the Giyil War 
were not easily to be effaced. Many of Ra^u- 
nathrao's adherents still lived and they, as well as 
many others, sympathised not only with the lot of 
his son Bajirao but also with the growing Madhav- 
rao, whom Nana Phadnavis as well kept under 
jealous supervision. It is probable that the old man 
had no other object but the young man's good, and 
had but forgotten that the years, which passed 
quickly over his own head, were creating an im- 
mense change in the young prince. A secret cor-- 
respondence sprang up between the two cousins,. 
Madhavrao and Bajirao, whose situations were in 
many respects so similar.* It was discovered by 
the great Minister, and his anger was so terrible 
that Madhavrao, broken-hearted by his reproaches,, 
threw himself from an upper story in the palace 
into the court-yard round which now cluster the^ 

* They were both oloselj watched. I shonld, howeyer, mj h&M tbat 
recent researches broaght to my notice by Mr. Drayid, editor of tbe^ 
<' Dnyan Prakash/* make it doabtfal whether Madhayrao^s death was not 


Coarts of the Poona Sub-Judges. On his deathr 
bed he expressed a wish that Bajirao should suo- 
oeed him, and after a series of deep intrigues 
Bajirao did obtain the Masnad which his father 
had failed so often to secure. The new prince's 
first efforts were directed towards destroying 
such of his friends as had helped him to rise. 
Nana Phadnavis now full of years was treacher- 
ously seized and an attempt was made to seize 
Shinde in open Darbar which would certainly 
have succeeded had not Bajirao's heart failed him. 
The intentions of Bajirao became, however, known 
to their would-be-victim, and their discovery natur- 
ally estranged all the great Jahagirdars. The 
estrangement led to an absolute disregard for the 
Peshwa's supremacy. On Tnkoji Holkar's death 
Shinde seized on the Holkar's estates. Yeshwant- 
rao Holkar, an illegitimate son, took the field in the 
old Maratha fashion. Eventually, the two feuda* 
tories fought near Hadapsar and Yeshwantrao 
Holkar was completely victorious. The Peshwa, 
who had latterly been friendly to Shinde, fled to 
Bombay, and the victorious Holkar thoroughly 
plundered the inhabitants of the beautiful capital. 
The Peshwa to obtain revenge agreed to the 
treaty of Bassein. 

In return for English assistance he promised 
to maintain a large body of hired troops, and 
signed his own complete political subordination. 
Amritrao, his elder adopted brother, had, however, 
in the meantime usurped the Peshwai^ and the 


interference of the British brought on them the 
whole confederacy of the Maratha Empire. The 
great resources, however, which that Government 
had then acquired and the ability of the two 
brothers, tbe Marquis and General Wellesley then 
at the head of the Civil and Military Government, 
enabled the British to restore Bajirao. Shinde 
was defeated at Assaye and Laswari, Baghoji 
Bhosle at Argaon, and Bolkar, after some brilliant 
initial successes, was driven out of the Deccan. 
Bajirao had obtained a sign^ revenge, but at a 
high, and as he soon came to think, at a too high 
price. Quarrels arose between the allies and they 
came to a head over the question of the arrest of 
Trimbakji Dengale, the murderer of the Gaikwad's 
minister Gangadhar Shastri. Eventually, Bajirao 
was forced to sign the treaty of Poena which 
placed him still more under English protection. 
Bajirao, however, had no intention of adhering to 
it. He secretly enrolled a quantity of troops, and 
hoped by taking the initiative to gain such sue* 
cesses against the English as would bring to his 
aid the great Maratha Jahagirdars. The successes, 
however, never came. His troops were defeated 
in every battle and he himself eventually surren- 
dered on the 3rd June, 1818, to Sir John Malcolm. 
He was allowed the handsome pension of 8 lacs 
a year. He retired to Bithur near Cawnpore 
where he lived for nearly 30 years, dymg even- 
tually on the 28th January, 1851. 

With the English conquest, the line of Peshwas 


came, of course, to an end, and I may, perhaps, be 
permitted to enquire, what was the reason of their 
complete collapse? Many different causes have 
been assigned to it. Western aggression, the 
independent attitude of the feudatories, the battlo 
of Panipat. These all, no doubt, contributed to 
the downfall, but in my humble judgment were 
symptoms of the disease rather than the disease 
itself. The evil lay deeper. In his " Decline and 
fall " Gibbon has observed that Asiatic monarchy 
is an unceasing round of valour, greatness, 
degeneracy and decay. This remark is singu* 
larly untrue, of some, at any rate, of the native 
Indian kingdoms. The august dynasty of 
Udaipur, which still ranks so high among the 
principalities of India, was hoary with age 
when the Catholic Church was founded and 
of respectable antiquity when Sophocles was 
writing tragedies and Pericles dallying with 
Aspasia. But the remark is true both of Eastern 
and Western usurpers. And in spite of their 
great services, usurpers the Peshwas were always 
regarded by the great body of Maharashtra. Had 
the Peshwas been able to extinguish and not 
merely intern the successors of Shahu, they 
would, no doubt, have in the end been regarded 
as legitimate monarchs. But public opinion was 
too strong for them. They never dared lay sacri- 
legious hands on the descendants of Shivaji 
Bhosle. And, indeed, there is no more marvellous 
achievement of that titanic figure than that during 


1^ centuries his memory, tbe mere terror of his 
name, was sufficient to protect his helpless poste- 
rity. Now as they were nsarpers, the Pei^was' 
kingdom was subject to the common rule. Decay 
was the inevitable accompaniment of their deteri- 
oration. During the Peshwas' greatness Western 
aggression was promptly dealt with. The Portu- 
guese were, as we have seen, driven out of Bassein, 
and it is idle to argue that the English could not 
have been similarly overpowered. The independ- 
ence of the Jahagirdars was a still later symptom. 
The great Mahadji Shinde himself had tried to 
measure himself against the first Madhavrao, but 
the young prince drove him from his presence 
completely cowed. And what was the battle of 
Paniput, but the result of Balaji Bajirao's weak 
yielding to the jealous clamour of his favourite 
cousin ? Had his strength been still unimpared, 
Baghunathrao would have been retained at the 
head of the army, and there would have been no 
disaster. But the weakness of the Central Gov- 
ernment began in the closing years of Balaji's 
reign and succeeding Peshwas were never able 
completely to cure the disease. In Madhavrao'e 
reign it might have been got under had he only 
lived longer or executed Rughunathrao. His early 
death ruined the central Government, for the 
regency were unable to restore health to it. 
Finally when Bajirao succeeded the disease had got 
completely the upper hand. The Maratha empire 
was already doomed. He but hastened the end. 


I have now come to the end of my lecture. I 
must thank you for the attention and kindneBS 
neith which you have listened to me. But before 
I conclude I would make of you an earnest 
request. The subject which I have discussed is 
an extremely delicate one. I have endeavoured 
to eliminate from it all matters in the least likely 
to give offence. It is, however, possible that 
being a foreigner, I may have quite unintentionally 
wounded some sensibilities. Should I have 
done so I would only ask that no ill motive may 
be imputed to me and that as the intention was 
absent it may be judged that I have committed 
no offence. On the other hand, I shall be deeply 
gratified if I have succeeded in giving you even 
a momentary glimpse of any single member of 
the great house that turned the little township of 
Poena into a mighty and beautiful metropolis — of 
Balaji Vishwanath, the wise progenitor, Bajirao I, 
the orator and soldier whose fiery imagination 
like the gate of the Shanwar Wada looked ever 
towards the golden throne of Delhi ; Balaji 
Vishwanath, the bold but unfortunate usurper ; 
Madhavrao I, the most brilliant perhaps of all, 
whom death snatched away in his glorious prime ; 
Narayanrao and Madhavrao II, killed on the 
very threshold of manhood, and last of all Bajirao 
II9 gayest, handsomest but alas I most iacapable 
of princes. 


It used to be some years ago — and I, dare say* 
that it still is — a not nncommon saying that 
Hindu writers have no historical sense, and it 
must be admitted that the earlier literature of 
India a£Forded some ground for this reproach. 
It was left to three Englishmen, Colonel Tod, 
Mr. Forbes and Captain Grant DufiF, to write 
the histories of Bajasthan, Eathiavad and the 
Maharashtra. The splendid period of Mussul- 
man greatness found no Hindu historian and even 
the spirited bakhars of the great Deccan houses 
can hardly be termed, in the usual sense of the 
word, histories. But whatever may formerly 
have been the case, to-day the censure is no longer 
deserved. In " Karan Ghelo " a Gujarati author 
has written the finest historical novel produced 
in either hemisphere since Dumas wrote the 
wondrous tale of *' The Three Musketeers.'' And 
of recent years the Deccan has furnished historical 

• Sayal Madhavrao Peshvayaiicha Darbar. By Mr. D. B. ParasniS} 
PrintecL at tbeiNirnaysagar Press, Poona. 


noveliBtB like Mr. Hari Apte and hietorianB like 
Mr. Dattaraya FarasDis. It is with the most recent 
work of the latter author that the present article 
deals. And the book has a doable interest, for 
throughont its pages may be seen side by side 
old-fashioned and modern Marathi. The former 
in the letters of Nana PhadDavis and his agents 
is crabbed, ambiguous, often unintelligible. The 
latter wielded by Mr. Parasnis* admirable pen is 
clear, vigorous, and so permeated with Western 
thought that sentence after sentence might almost 
be literally translated into English. 

To return, however, to my subject. In his 
latest book, " The Court of the Younger Madhav- 
rao/' Mr. Parasnis has written of the establish- 
ment of the first permanent English embassy at 
the Court of Poena. There had been no doubt 
several earlier English eavoys. As long ago as 
1674 A.D. Sir Henry Oxenden and Dr. Fryer 
bad visited Shivaji at Raigadb. Then in 1761 
Captain Gordon had been to see King Shahu at 
Satara. In 1751 William Price had treated with 
the Third Peshwa, Balaji Bajirao. In 1767 
Mostyn had visited Madhavrao I, and in 1776 
Colonel Upton had brought to a successfal close 
the negotiations leading to the treaty of Puran- 
dhar. But these were all transitory visits and the 
East India Company had long felt the need of 
some permanent responsible medium through whom 
they might both acquire and impart information. 
After the disastrous campaign of Wadgaon the 



Company had^ through a sense of gratitade to 
Mahadji Shinde for his treatment of their troops, 
employed him as their intermediary. But it was 
not long before this method proved onsatisfaotory. 
Shinde's thoughts were directed towards Delhi 
rather than Poona and it was impossible that one 
so deeply engaged in Hindustani affairs could 
spare the time or trouble to be a successfol agent 
of the Company. After considerable hesitation 
and after long discussion with the Calcutta Gov* 
emment it was decided that a Bombay oi&cer 
should be selected, but that he should represent 
not Bombay but the Governor-General. The next 
step was to obtain the consent of the Poona Court 
This was no easy matter. The continual presence 
of an English envoy might be construed as a sign 
of inferiority which the Maratha Government 
were naturally loth to admit. The meridian of 
their glory had no doubt passed, bat although the 
evening shadows were soon to fall the setting sun 
for the time shone brightly enough. The terrible 
calamity of Panipat had been in a measure repaired 
by the elder Madhavrao, and the spoils of 
Hyderabad and the Carnatic had replenished the 
empty treasury. The civil campaigns against 
Raghanathrao had indeed shaken the structure of 
the empire, but the ability of the regent Nana 
Phadnavis coped with each new difliculty as it 
came. The English were by the treaty of Salpe 
induced to abandon Raghunathrao, and if victory 
had not as of old followed the Yellow Banner yet in 


two campaigns the English had wrested nothing 
from the Foona Court. On the whole, it was a fair 
time for Maharashtra. The reforms initiated by 
Balaji Bajirao revised by Madhavrao the First and 
still further developed by the regent had rendered 
the lot of the Deccan peasant by no means un- 
enviable. Trade, no doubt, stagnated, but there 
was vast wealth stored in the houses of the Mara- 
tha nobles. Civil talents found an opening in 
Nana Phadnavis' adminstration and in Malva 
where the wide lands of the Holkar Shahi were 
guarded by the virtues and wisdom of Ahilyabai. 
Nor were adventures lacking to the adventurous. 
Raids were in constant progress into the Carnatic 
or the Moglai ; and far away at Uijain were form- 
ing beneath tbe eagle eyes of De Boigne those 
renowned brigades, who, many years later, though 
deserted by their leaders, yet faced Lake's attack 
with unfaltering courage ; who burst like a flood 
over Upper India ; who broke in pieces the old 
thrones of Rajasthan, and who accomplished what 
five centuries of Mussulman invaders had failed to 
achieve, for they humbled to the very dust the 
lordly pride of Mewar. 

What then in the end induced Nana Phadnavis 
to consent to the English proposal ? There can 
%e little doubt that it was the growing menace of 
Tipu Sultan's kingdom. His father Haidar Ali -^ 

had no doubt been on the whole hostile to the 
English, but he had been no less so to the Mars^ 
thas, and it would not have been diflScult for the 


Company to induce Tipu Sultan to jom in a 
league against the Poena Grovernment which, 
pressed on both sides, would have found it a hard 
task to resist So to prevent what he most feared, 
an alliance of the English with Tipu, Nana Phad- 
navis agreed reluctantly to a permanent English 
envoy at the Peshwa's Court. There was yet 
another step to be taken, and that was to induce, 
without offending him, Mahadji Shinde to relin- 
quish his post as intermediary between the 
English and the Peshwa. This delicate task was 
entrusted to the hero of Mr. Parasnis' work, 
Charles Warre Malet. This remarkable man came 
of an obscure English family. His father was a 
poor country parson who found it difficult on his 
small income to bring up his children. Thus 
when his son Charles, bom in A. D, 1752, reached 
the age of eighteen, his father gladly accepted on 
his behalf a writership in the East India Company. 
In the winter of 1770, the young man landed in 
Bombay, and his earlier service was spent in 
Muscat, Bushire and in other coast towns along 
the Persian Gulf. In 1774, he was selected to 
officiate as English Agent at the Court of Cambay. 
Here he earned the approval of his chie& by an 
act of resolution certainly remarkable in a boy of 
twenty-three. When the intense feeling roused 
by the murder of Narain Rao had alienated from 
Raghunathrao the great jaghirdars, he turned in 
despair to the English with whom, on March 6th, 
1775, he drew up a treaty making to them large 


cessions in the Konkan in return for the support 
of their troops. Before, however, these could 
reach hun he was surprised and signally defeated 
near the Mahi river by the regent's army. He 
fled with only 1,000 horse to Cambay where the 
Nawab was unwilling to receive him. But the 
young English envoy, although he knew nothing 
of the treaty, insisted on sheltering him and en- 
abled him to embark via Bhavnagar in safety for 
Bombay. The grateful pretender, in a letter 
quoted by Mr. Parasnis, exclaimed : '* You did 
more for me than my father Bajirao, He gave me 
my life but you not only saved it but my honour as 
well !" The Bombay Government showed their 
appreciation by confirming Malet at Cambay 
where he seems to have remained until 1785, 
when they were asked by Calcutta to choose a 
representative for the Poena Court. Before this 
could be done Shinde's consent had, as I have 
said, to be obtained and Malet was selected 
for this delicate mission. Going by sea from 
Bombay to Surat, Malet marched from there to 
Ujjain. There he met Mahadji Shinde. The 
difficulties were great for, as intermediary between 
the English and the Peshwa, Shinde retained an 
effective control over affairs at Poena. Neverthe- 
less Malet induced the reluctant prince to write 
that if the Peshwa had no objection to the new 
embassy, he had none. A yet greater triumph 
was in store for the young civil servant. For, on 
his return to Bombay, he learnt that Shinde had 


privately written to Governor Boddam that, shonld 
the Peshwa conseDt, Shinde hoped that Mr« Malet 
might be chosen as envoy. 

His wish was granted, for the Peshwa had 
already consented and Malet started for Poona. 
The following letter, written on the 11th February, 
1786, by Bahirav Raghunath to Nana Phadnavis 
reports Malet's slow advance, and its closing 
sentence shows that our countryman, distinguished 
though he was, was not above certain deplorable 

" You ordered me to report, when Mr, Malet 
" left Bombay, how far he had gone and when he 
** would reach Poona. Accordingly (I inform you 
" that) he reached Panwell on the 12th instant. 
" (Hindu month). He remained for eight days 
** there. On the 21st he left, and I was informed by 
'^ letter that on the 22nd he had come to Ehalapur 
"near Khopvalin just below the Ghats. The 
" following day he was to climb them. He will 
" remain two days at Khandala. The reason why 
** his marches are so slow is because he requires 
** labourers for no less than 500 to 700 head-loads. 
" This leads to confusion and waste of time. 
*^ . . . With him are the following:— Six topi- 
**walas* including Malet himself. Of these, 
" three of them are entitled to palanquins. There 

* The names applied to Englishmen by Indians aie many and vari- 
ous. The following I have myself either heard or read :— Bonmi, Ferin- 
ghi, or Feranghiy Ingrej, Angrej, Angal, Mleacha, Yavan, topiwala and 
Janglo. The term sahiblog is within my experience oiUy used when 
an Englishman is within hearing or by the servant class. 


^^ are 35 horses, 200 guards, 100 servants, 50 
^ kamathi porters, 75 palanquin men, 425 Mhars, 2 
'^ elephants, 4 palanquins. His camp kit consists 
^' of 1 big and 2 small tents, 3 big raotis and pals 
^^ for servants. Malefs Musalman dancing girl is 
^* also with them in a palkhi." 

On Malet's arrival at Poena there occurred a 
diflference between him and the regent. The 
latter was engaged in an expedition in theCamatio 
and wished Malet without delay to join his army. 
Malet pleaded that he wished first to pay his 
respect to the young Peshwa and this the regent 
was at last forced to allow. Malet's stay gave 
rise to the question where he was to stay, and his 
place of residence gave Bahirav Raghunath who 
had been entrusted with his entertainment consid- 
erable trouble. -On the 4th March, 1786, he 
wrote as follows to Nana : — 

" I have prepared a place in the Gaikwad^s 
^ house. But he (Malet) wants a roomy spot 
** surrounded by trees. He has, therefore, pitched 
** his tents opposite Parvati in the mango grove 
*^ near Anandrao Jivaji's garden. He has placed 
" his zanankhana" — presumably his Musulman 
Herodias— " inside the Gaikwad's house, but he 
** himself remains outside." 

Although Mr. Malet was not very satisfied with 
this arrangement and seems to have grumbled 
a good deal, his attention was soon diverted to a 
further question. Having gained his point and 
obtained leave to see the Peshwa, he had next to 


see that he should be properly received. He had 
brought with him a quantity of presents, of which 
one seems to have been a young ostrich. Of this 

Bahirapant wrote : 

^' Malet has brought a shahamrag (griffin) from 

" Abyssinia to give to the Feshwa. It, however, 
^' died in its cage below the Ghats. But he had its 
** body carried after him. The bird was very large 
*' being four feet high. He brought it because it 
** was very rare, but it is dead." The other offer- 
ings, however, remained and a heated controversy 
arose as to how the Feshwa should receive the 
envoy. Nana Fhadnavis ordered that he should be 
given the same honours as Mr. Mostyn and Colonel 
Upton. Mr. Malet contended that they had mere- 
ly represented the Bombay Government and that 
as he was the ambassador of Calcutta, he should 
receive the same honours as the Calcutta envoy 
when visiting Shinde or the Mogal. A most 
amusing correspondence ensued between Bahiravr 
pant and the regent in which the former recited 
all the devices vainly employed to induce Malet to 
accept Nana Fhadnavis' ruling. Eventually, it 
was arranged that the official reception should 
stand over until Malet's return from the regent's 
camp. Malet, whom Bahiravpant described as 
extremely "grieved, vexed, and annoyed," was 
to see the Feshwa privately. An account of 
this interview is to be found in a letter of 
Janardhan Apaji to Nana Fhadnavis, dated 5th 
March, 1786. 


** To-day he (Malet) went to pay his respects to 
" the Peshwa. It was arranged that he should 
*' arrive first and the Peshwa later. At the time 
** of departure the Peshwa was to rise first so that 
** there should be no difficulty on the score of eti- 
**quette. As Bahiravpant suggested and Malet 
" insisted that on arrival he should merely place 
" his hand within the Peshwa's, the latter received 
"him unattended."* 

After thus paying his respects to Madhavrao II, 
Mr. Malet had to join Phadnavis' army and on the 
20th May, 1786, was presented at the storming of 
Badam. Upon this success, the Maratha forces 
returned to Poena where Malet began to unfold the 
design of the Company. This was no less than 
the formation of a triple alliance between the 
Nizam, the Marathas and the English against 
Mysore. As Mr. Parasnis has very justly observed, 
it is extraordinary that the regent should ever 
have joined such a scheme. Fear a league be- 
tween the Englieh and Tipu Sultan though he 
might, it was yet scarcely conceivable that he 
should play into the former's hands by joining with 
them against their most serious enemy. That 
Malet should have overcome Nana's reluctance is 
the highest proof of the Englishman's talents. 
The Nizam was similarly won over by Sir John 
Kennaway and eventually the representatives of 

* The ordinary Indian ealntation would have been a < namaskar' or 
profound bow accompanied by an upward motion of the hands clasped 
in front. 



all three powers formally agreed jointly to invade 
Mysore. The opening passage of the treaty frank- 
ly confesses its object : — 

** All the three powers have treaties with Tipn. 
** But he has harassed all three of us. Therefore, 
"the three Governments will jointly make an 
^^ expedition and give him such punishment that 
" he will not have the means of harassing any of 
" them again.'' Each power was to put 25,000 men 
into the field and the Nizam was to employ the 
two Company's regiments in his service. Similar- 
ly two Company's regiments were to be hired to 
the Peshwa, if required, at the same rate of pay. 
The English took the field at the appointed time, 
but soon found that their allies were not so ready 
to act up to their agreement. Malet, at last, exas- 
perated by what he thought was the regent's 
duplicity but what Mr. Parasnis believes to have 
been his lack of means, spoke to him so sharply 
that he directed the Maratha agent with the 
English army, Haripant Phadke, to ask for Malet's 
recall. Haripant, however, knew no English. 
The English General knew no Marathi. Mr. 
Cherry, the English interpreter, was Malet's per- 
sonal friend so Haripant had to write to Nana that 
under the circumstances he could not well raise the 
question. Eventually, Malet and Kennaway did 
infuse some energy into the Hyderabad and Poena 
administrations and the first Mysore war termin- 
ated with the humiliation of Tipu and a partition 
between the allies of half his kingdom, including 


Coorg. The East India Company, delighted with 
Malet's success, got the English Ministry to create 
him a baronet. But the regent's feelings were 
very di£Eerent. Malet on behalf of the Company 
presented his bill for their regiments at the rate of 
Rs. 64,000 a month, plus Rs. 68,000 for equip- 
ment, Rs. 14,000 for transport and Rs. 40,000 as a 
gratuity for their gallantry. In all the bill came 
to Rs. 7,51,666. It was paid, but Nana Phadnavis 
in the bitterness of his heart wrote to Govindrao 
Kale, the Maratha envoy at Hyderabad, as 
follows : — 

" Malet at Poena, Knive (Kennaway) at Hyder- 
" abad have sat down and done nothing, but have 
** spent lakhs of rupees. While they were sitting 
" down people said they cannot really be doing 
" nothing, they must be devising some cunning 
" plot. And that is what has actually happened. 
" Now whether we like it or not we have to agree 
*• to what they say and act up to the treaty. It is 
*^ true that its terms were that when Dassara came 
^* we were to send a considerable force. Dassara 
*' passed by and Diwali came and what was 
** done was done after Diwali. (They consider) 
" each day as if it was a yuga (age). You will 
^' say that Diwali is the same as Dassara. Fag- 
*' riwalas will agree with you, but topiwalas 
** will not be put off like that. They will take a 
" pair of scales and they will sit down and weigh 
'^ the meaning of each phrase in the treaty and 
" they will not let you speak a single word. (They 


*' will exclaim) ' You made a fine display! Without 
" any trouble you have got forts and strongholds 
"while we worked ourselves to death!* And 
'' they will certainly say that the Company has 
" been ruined and ask how we can have the 
" face to claim our share. I have no doubt about 
"it. And while speaking they will roll their 
" eyes in anger and forget all that we have done 
" for them." 

Nor was Govindrao Kale's answer lesspathetic: — 
** The present days are very hard. At Poena you 
*' have Malet, Here we have Knive (Kennaway). 
" They are both skilled in their work and servants 
" of the same master, Malet writes to Knive what 
" goes on at Poena ; Knive writes to Malet what 
" goes on here. Then Malet questions you and 
" Knive me and they make us answer* And this 
" exposes us to great bother and difficulty. They 
"search out whether our answers are true or 
" false. And the man who gets caught between 
" thiem suflFers sore trouble." 

In spite of Phadnavis' fears the English gave 
the Marathas their fair share and Malet in the end 
gained to some extent the regent's respect. He 
was even more successful with the yoimg Peshwa 
whose affections as well as those of the Poena 
people he seems to have completely captured. In 
this he derived great help from Drs. Crusoe and 
Findley, members of his staff. They were skilful 
surgeons and attended on all, high or low, who 
needed their services. Still greater aid was 


given to Malet by a Mr. Wales, R. A., who visited 
Poona abont this time, and whose skill as a por- 
trait painter both helped his country and brought 
considerable profit to himself. During the five or 
six years he remained at Poona, he sketched all the 
leading men of that day, and his portrait of the 
regent, and of the younger Madhavrao may still 
be seen at Ganeshkhind. At Malet's suggestion 
Wales founded an art school and one of his pupils, 
Gangaram Tambat, made a painting of Verul 
caves which in 1794 was sent by Malet as a 
present to Sir John Shore, theu Governor-General. 
Wales died on the 13th November, 1795, and five 
years later his eldest daughter Susan became Lady 
Malet. Surgery and painting were, however, not 
the only arts which the English envoy introduced. 
He sent for a watchmaker from Europe and 
microscopes, globes, and telescopes to the Peshwa 
and his Sardars. Nor were his gifts confined to 
these. For when one Mahadji Chintaman was 
suffering from a pain in the abdomen Malet, gave 
him Rs. 125, with which to pay some Brah^ 
mins to do pradakshina^ round the idol of Shri 

One of the most interesting chapters in Mr. Pa- 
rasnis' book contains the account of Malet's visit 
to Mahableshwar in 1794 more than thirty years 
before those of its reputed discoverers Lodwick 

* The pradakflbina is ths circling of the suppliaat loand the shrine 
with his left ann outwards. The right side o£ the body mnat be kept 
turned towards the idol. 


and Malcolm. The Peshwawho loved Malet's 
society had taken him there with him. Nana 
Phadnavis, however, was afraid that on the retarn 
journey the Englishman might at Satara weave an 
intrigue with the imprisoned Maharaja and, as 
may be seen from the following letter, took steps 
to prevent their meeting : — 

*' The Peshwa and his retinue came to Wai and 
" after the eclipse on the 3rd Ashwin Wad went 
" to Mahableshwar and returned on the 4th, Malet 
"with him. He always goes 4 or 5 kos daily in 
" search of sport. There are many forts here and 
" he examines them daily through a telescope. 
'* He then makes maps of them. The Maharajah, 
"the Queen Mother and the Satara notables sent a 
" message inviting the Peshwa, as he had climbed 
" the Salpe ghat, to pay his respects to the Maha- 
" raja. If the Peshwa were to go Malet would 
" accompany him. Now Satara is the most im- 
" portant place (in the kingdom). It would be 
"quite different if he saw it close. So it was 
" decided that the Peshwa should pay his respects 
" alone and by putting off Malet's visits from day to 
" day the Maharaja was induced to believe that he 
" was not coming. So he and the Peshwa exchang- 
" ed presents of clothes, an elephant and a horse. 
*• The following day the Peshwa and his suite 
"returned to Wai." Nana Phadnavis thus 
thought that he had outwitted the envoy but he was 
afterwards disgusted to learn that on the day of 
the Peshwa's visit to Satara fort Malet had climbed 


the fort of Sonjai and had observed the whole 
scene through a telescope. 

If, however, the old regent never wholly over- 
came his suspicion, elsewhere Malet attained a 
degree of intimacy with the Poena aristocracy 
which, as Mr. Parasnis has observed, is extraordi- 
nary in the light of modern manners. No marriage 
or thread ceremony seems to have been complete 
without him. He attended regularly the Ganpati 
festival both in the palace of the Peshwas and of 
the Fhadkes, and Brahmins of every degree were 
willing to drink medicines prepared either by him 
or his doctors. He was, in fact, the great social suc- 
cess of Poena society. In 1795 the young Peshwa 
either threw himself or fell from the upper storey 
of the Shan war Wada and after innumerable plots 
and counterplots his cousin Bajirao succeeded him 
on the royal cushion. He too came under the wand 
of the magician. For when Malet retired in 
March, 1797, the new Peshwa parted with him 
with the utmost reluctance and sent by him to the 
English King a flattering letter, in which Malet's 
services were highly appreciated, and presents 
worth Rs. 20,000. 

On his return to England Malet resided until his 
death in 1815 at Wilbury House. By Susan Lady 
Malet, he had 8 sons of whom the eldest Sir Alex- 
ander Malet succeeded to his father's title and from 
1856 to 1866 was English ambassador at Berlin. 
Another son, Sir Arthur Malet, became a member 
of the Bombay Government. And a third son, 


Mr. Hugh Malet, while Collector of Thana, dii- 
covered by an unconscious atavism the hill station 
of Matheran. 

Here I must take leave of Mr. Parasnis and his 
most interesting book. In it he has given ub, 
sketched both in pen and pencil, the portraits of 
the versatile and able men who adorned the Court 
of the last Peshwa but one who ruled in Poona. 
There may be seen the dark and brooding brow of 
the great Nana Phadnavis who strove all in vain 
to pilot the ship of state through the raging waters. 
There too laughs at us, in the joy of his twenty 
years, the younger Madhavrao, all unconscious of 
a Aiture terrible and untimely death. And right 
through the book there strides the burly figure 
of the English envoy, adroit, fearless, resourceful 
and insinuating — the stormy petrel whose presence 
more clearly than aught else foretold to the dis- 
cerning observer the cyclone that was soon to sweep 
away for ever the whole structure of the Peshwa's 



There are in the heart of Poena city several 
theatres where night after night Marathi plays are 
performed to Indian audiences ; but into which an 
Englishman rarely finds his way. Should he do 
so, it may be that he will be well rewarded. A 
few weeks ago this was my own good fortune. I 
witnessed a play or rather part of a play evidently 
based on Tennyson's '* Princess,'' The old Latin 
tag that ^' art is long and life is short '' applies, 
however, with peculiar force to Marathi dramas. 
The Indian, who has paid four annas for a seat, 
expects entertainment for at least an equal number 
of hours, so after witnessing an act or two of the 
play in the theatre I was forced to read the rest of 
it in my study. 

The dramatist, Mr. Khadilkar, following the 
usual Marathi tradition, has taken as the time 
of his play the epic period of Indian history. 
There are advantages about this method as girls 
were then married at an age when they could fall 
in love. It is, therefore, possible to put love scenes 
on the stage. The chief demerit is that characters, 
4,000 years old, are made to talk like Poena 
gentlemen of to-day, and we therefore are faced 



with an anachronism eimilar to that with which 
Macaulay charged Racine — '^ the sentiments and 
phrases of Versailles in the camp of Anlis." The 
date when '*A Woman's Revolt," as Mr. 
Ehadilkar's play is called, opens, is shortly after 
the great battle of Knrukshetra. The Pandav 
brothers, after the twelve years of exile and one of 
disguise forced on them by Yudhishthira's dicing 
match, had at last come into their own. Their 
cousin Duryodhan was dead, his father King 
Dhritrashtra was their prisoner. Yuhdishthira had 
ascended the throne of Hastinapura and had sent 
Arjuna with the Ashwamedha horse that he might 
exact tribute and submission wherever it roamed. 
Arjuna had been a year absent, and everywhere 
the horse had wandered, Yudhishthira had been 
acknowledged emperor ; when in a small Hima- 
layan kingdom it was seized and tribute was 
refused. The ruler Shvetketu, Tennyson's King 
Gama, himself acknowledged Yudhishthira's over- 
lordship, but his daughter Framila, going further 
than the Princess Ida, had established not merely 
a girPs college but a woman's kingdom. No man, 
except with letters from Shvetketu, could enter it 
save on pain of death and she and her female 
bands were prepared to resist all men's claims for 
superiority, including Yudhishthira's. Like King 
Grama, Shvetketu had not much sympathy with his 
daughter's views and promised Arjuna her hand 
if he could cure her of her folly. That invincible 
warrior, however, could not stain his arms with 


the blood of the fair Bez. So it was agreed that 
like the Prince Florian and Gycil, he and some 
companions shonld enter Pramila's domain^ and if 
possible, win the heart of the Princess. Arjnna 
took three companions, Pushpadhanwa, his com- 
mander'-in«<)hief, a young hero who in youth had 
been betrothed to Pramila's commander-in-chief 
Bupmaya, and two old men Maitraya and Jagruka, 
who furnish most of the comic element in the 
play. They do not, like Tennyson's gallants, 
adopt women's disguises, but Arjuna affects to be 
a vakil come with an offer of marriage from 
Arjuna. Fushpadhanwa puts on an old man's 
wig and beard and pretends to be like Maitraya 
and Jagruka, an ancient counsellor in attendance 
on Arjuna's vakil. The first scene closes as the 
four start on their quest armed with letters from 
King Shvetketu. The second scene opens on the 
frontier of Queen Pramila's Kingdom. Some lady 
soldiers are on duty and are passing their time 
abusing the male sex when they espy Arjuna and 
his three attendants. They are arrested, but as they 
produce King Shvetketu's letters, they are brought 
into the Darbar of Queen Pramila and her aunt 
Satyamaya. The latter has the title of Guru 
Maharsg and she is our old friend the Lady 
Blanche who 

^ Of faded f ocm and haughtiest lineaments 
** With aU her autumn tresses falsely brown 
** Shot side long daggers at us, a tiger cat 
* In act to spring." 


It is Satyamaya who has filled Pramila's head 
with nonsense. The Lady Psyche^ Mr. Khadil- 
kar has omitted and, as I think, wisely. For 
Tennyson has not made it clear why that young 
and charming girl should have been so bitter 
against male humanity. Lady Blanche ^^was 
wedded to a fool " and on that account influenced 
Princess Ida. Satyamaya was moved by a wish 
to surpass Parvati who, as one story has it, ran a 
woman's kingdom in the Himalayas until seduced 
by Shiv, who made his way into her capita), dis- 
guised as a holy and passionless ascetic. In the 
Durbar the four adventurers have to bear much 
grotesque abuse of the male sex, of which the fol- 
lowing may serve as specimen. 

** Men are accursed (mele*) mummers ! In 
their childhood they have faces like women ; in 
their youth the blackguards blacken their fsices 
(i.^.j by growing beards) and in their old age, they 
put a coat of whitewash over the black sins of 
their youth. In a single life, their faces have 
three different colours ! " 

Eventually Pramila, after reading her father's 
letters, tells the so-called vakil that he may for 
ten days stay in her kingdom and persuade her if 
he can to marry Arjuna. It may perhaps here be 
mentioned that according to Mr. Vaidya,t Arjuna 

• The practice of affixing forcible epithets to nouns, which Is in 
English Society usually confined to men, is in Deccan Society usnally 
confined to women. The epithet * mela ^ or * dead ^ is a very common 
abusive word. 

t The Mahabharata. A criticism, p. 145; by Hz. 0. V. Vaidya, b.a., 



must at this time have been well over 50 and he 
had already as wives Subhadra, Krishna's sister, 
and a one-fifth share in DraupadL But to these 
ladies^ Mr. Ehadilkar, exercising a poet's license, 
makes no reference and Aijnna appears in his 
play as an unmarried warrior of about 30. One 
condition Pramila attaches to the vakil's presence. 
He and his attendants must in Durbar at any rate 
speak as if they were women, «,c., must use femi- 
nine* terminations. To this they have to agree 
and the four men's use of them leads to a good 
deal of merriment. But as the Marathi proverbt 
has it, '^once a beak gets in a pestle will shortly 
follow." And now that four men have entered the 
women's empire, its speedy downfall may con- 
fidently be expected. The first women to break 
their oaths are two lady sepoys, Wagmati and 
Budhimati. It seems that Arjuna's two old 
attendants, Maitraya and Jagruka, had been 
amusing themselves, the former by leering at 
all the women whom he passed, and Jagruka 
by fooling old Lady Satyamaya to the top of 
her bent. At last, bored by her continued 
lectures, he had set her to search through 
the Rigveda for types of *' Revolting women" 
which as he said, were to be found there and he 
had himself " levanted." Eventually tracked, his 

* This will be best uDderstood by a quotation ** Bayaki Bhasha 
bolayache mi kabal karite '*'* (instead of Kariton). It ii mneh the same 
as if a man said in Freoch, '*Je bqIb pr6te a parler comme une 

t Ghanchn pravesbam musiil pravesh. 


evasioBB to escape punishment reminded Wag^ 
mati of her brother's attempts to evade school 
Wagmati mentions this to Budhimati who then 
remembers that her son too mnst be at school. 
Folio wing the train of thought thereby started 
the two women agree to escape from Pramila's 
clutches by the aid of a Bhil and his wife who 
have just arrived bringing a message to Rup- 
maya from her mother, and the two women do 
eventually get to their homes after a very 
amusing scene between them and the Bhil's wife 
who cannot be persuaded that they have not 
designs on her husband's virtue. The great scene 
in the play, however, is the wooing of Rupmaya 
by Pushpadhanwa. With her mother's letter 
comes to Rupmaya a picture of her betrothed. 
The sight of it moves her deeply, and as she is 
looking at it, Pushpadhanwa, still wearing the 
disguise of an old man, makes his way to her 
presence on the pretence of winning her over, if 
possible, to the idea of wedlook with the lover 
affianced to her in childhood. To her disgust, he 
at once begins making love to her on his own 
account and calls her his dear one and himself 
her slave. Eventually, beside herself with exas- 
peration at the old man's importunity, she 
confesses her love for Pushpadhanwa. I translate 
a part of the scene verbatim. 

Rupmaya : " Pushpadhanwa, how would you 
like to hear this old monkey calling the girl whom 
you love and who loves you, his dear one. Now, 


you old fool, how do yon like that ? I refuse to 
marry Pushpadhanwa only because of the attrac- 
tions of women's rule. And although you know 
this you yet pester me. (Pointing to the picture.) 
Now do you think year old face is more winning 
than Pushpadhanwa's ? Look, accursed one, look 
at this picture well. To conquer a woman's fancy 
eyes like these are needed — eyes flashing with 
light and rounded like a lotus flower in bloom. 
Open your eyes wide, and look at this laughing 
mouth, the haughty beauty of this face, that 
dear broad breast which bids me embrace it. 
And then, old cripple, hide your white beard 
in shame. 

Pushpadhanwa: (Disguised) Pretty one, how 
4m I worse than Pushpadhanwa ? 

Rupmaya : How are you worse ? How are 
you worse ? 

Pushpadhanwa: (Disguised) My eyes are no 
less comely than Pashpadhanwa's. I have strength 
in this my beard to do merely in sport such deeds 
of valour as Pushpadhanwa has never either in 
youth or as commander-in-chief accomplished. 
dear one, I feel sure that you will throw that pic- 
ture aside and end by fondling this beard. 

Rupmaya : Seeing that I listen to him the old 
fool begins doting. Accursed one ! Be off with 
you at once. Get out this instant. If you do not, 
I'll catch your beard and drag you by it into the 
courtyard. I'll make such a show of you that 
you'll remember it all your life. iJow out you get. 


Fashpadhanwa : (Disguised^ kneeling) No^ 
Rupmaya. No. Do what you will bnt this your 
slave will linger on at your feet 

Rupmaya : I'll never bring this accursed one 
to reason until I drag him out by his beard. [She 
seizes his beard and pulls. It comes away in her 
hand. She looks first at the picture and then at 
Fushpadhanwa and then timidly moving back 
looks fondly at him. He throws away the rest of 
his disguise.] 

Fushpadhanwa : Rupmaya, I envy the picture 
in your hand. Fushpadhanwa of the picture has 
never fallen at your feet. He has never knelt be- 
fore you or fawned before you. But he can look 
through my eyes fierce and reddened with the 
lust of battle^ on your lotus cheek to his love's 
content. And yet on these my (real) eyes, whict 
if denied your love will look at nothing in the 
world you refuse to smile in fondness. Does thii 
partiality befit you ? I envy the picture. I envy 
it. And unless I take it from you (he takes it). 
Have you looked at me ? Now answer truly. Am 
I in any way worse to look at than Fushpadhanwa 
in the picture ? 

Rupmaya : My lord, what can I say ? You dis- 
guised yourself as an old man and made me con- 
fess my love for you. So what else can this your 
slave now say to you ? But dear one, if any 
waiting maid were by chance to come here sud- 
denly and were to see you ? 

* The picture no doubt represented Paabpadlianwa in armour. 


Pashpadhanwa : Then what will happen ? She 
will tell Pramila that Pashpadhanwa has entered 
her kingdom. What then ? 

Rupmaya : Oh, no ! I do not want it to be known 
now. So^ do, dear, become an old man as before. 

Pashpadhanwa : To gain a woman, men will 
pretend to be young, old or even women. But I 
thought that you did not want even to loak at that 
accursed, base, forward, impertinent donkey, at 
that old fool and cripple. 

Rupmaya: O do stop that wretched joke! 
And do, dear, become again an old man at 
once *' 

Eventually by working on her fears Push- 
padhanwa compels her to promise that she will 
marry him before re-assuming his disguise. They 
then flee away together across the border. 

Arjuna's suit with Pramila does not proceed so 
easily. To show the so-called vakil that women 
are as bold as men, she takes him hunting in the 
jungle which clothes the banks of the river Saras* 
wati. She wounds a tiger with her arrow. A 
tigress, its mate, attacks Pramila and her com- 
panion. Arjuna snatches from her hands the bow 
and arrow with which she wishes to defend her- 
self, and with one hand seizing the tigress by the 
throat and with the other its two paws, holds it at 
arm's length and then drives it away half^ 
strangled and wholly cowed. This js certainly a 
tall order. But tout eat pertms to an Aryan 
hero I Pramila is deeply impressed by this feat, 



but in order to make her finally yields Mr. Khadil- 
kar resorts to a device similar to that of Tennyson. 
It will be remembered that after the Prince's 
disguise had been betrayed by CyriFs drunken 
song, Ida in a fury mounted her horse and rode 

««Hoof by hoof, 
And every hoof a knell to my desireB, 
Olanged on the bridge and then another Bhriek, 
* The Head, the Head, the Princess, O the Head V 
For blind with rage she miBsed the plank and rolled 
In the river. Ont I sprang from glow to gloom. 
There whirled her white robe like a blossomed branch 
Bapt to the horrible fall : a glance I gave, 
No more ; bnt woman vested as I was 
Flanged i and the flood drew ; yet I oaaght her 
Oaring one arm and bearing in my left 
The weight of all the hopes of half the world 
Strove t o bnffet to land in vain. A tree 
Was half disrooted from his place and stopped 
To drench his dark locks in the gargling wave 
Mid-channel. Sight on this we drove and caaght, 
And grasping down the boughs I gained the shore.^^ 

In Mr. Khadilkar^s play, however, Satyamaya or 
the Lady Blanche gets a ducking also; She has 
had her fears that in ten days' time the young 
vakil may make a great deal of love. Partly 
to watch Pramila and partly to practise austeri- 
ties, as a good Hindu widow should, she has 
followed her niece to the banks of the Saraswati. 
She surprises Pramila and Arjuna in an animated 
scene, where the latter discloses himself and 
offers his famous bow ** Gandiva *' for Pramila to 
trample on in revenge for his treatment of her 
bow when the tigress charged. If she does 
trample on it Arjuna will know that she does 


not love him. Pramila hesitates and as she 
does so Satyamaya rashes across a bridge whence 
she has overheard the discussion in order to 
trample on it herself. The bridge — no doubt of 
Hemadpanthi architecture — breaks and Satyamaya 
is hurled into the river. Arjuna at once springs 
after her. Pramila wishing to share Arjuna's 
danger refuses to stay behind and the scene closes 
with the heroic Pandav swimming to shore with 
a lady on each arm. In Tennyson's play the 
Princess still remains obdurate and her hero has 
to fight in the lists, be half-killed by her brother 
and nursed back to life by herself before she will 
give way. But Mr. Khadilkar clearly could not 
80 deal with the invincible Arjuna. He therefore 
makes Satyamaya prove ungrateful. Pramila, 
shocked by her aunt's ingratitude, confesses her 
affection for her gallant lover and Satyamaya 
leaves the story with these words : 

" Adimaya (Parvati) why were not my eyes 
closed before they saw this sight ? I can never 
teach another woman all my wisdom. Now I go 
into the forest to perform austerities. Nor shall 
i ever move from the seat where I shall perform 
them until the pride of men is conquered and 
until women's wrists have strength enough to 
turn men into wet nurses." 

In the meantime rumours have reached the 
capital that the troops with Pramila have become 
disaffected. The bulk of the women army comes 
from the capital on the scene in time to face Arju- 


na's army, who have invaded Framila's land to 
see that no harm comes to their general. Prami- 
la, however, intervenes, tells the opposing sides 
that her reign is over and that she is to be Arjn- 
na's bride and the play closes with the couple's 
arrival at the King Shvetk&tu's camp. He blesses 
the pair, promises to hand them over his lands 
and wealth before retiring like a true Aryan king 
to meet death in the practice of austerities, and 
then turning to his servants, he tells them : ^' Now 
all of you go to the capital and arrange for the 
marriage ceremonies of Arjuna and Pramila." 

* Aak me no more : tby fate and mine are sealed. 
^ I strove against the stream and aU in vain. 
*' Let the great river take me to the main 
''So more, dear love, for at a tonch I yield 
Ask me no more.** 

It would, I take it, also be improper to ask what 
reception Pramila received from Arjuna's family. 
Was she snubbed by Subhadra ? Did Arjuna's 
one-fifth share of Draupadi ever box her ears ? 
Let us trust not. Hindu women are capable 
of extraordinary self-sacrifice and submission. 
Let us rather hope that from the lattice windows 
of some palace in Hastinapura Pramila smelt 
the odours and saw the smoke go up from the 
great Ashwamedha sacrifice which Yudhishthira 
held when he was finally crowned Emperor of 
the Universe ; that she lived happily until such 
time as the Pandavas and Draupadi went forth on 
the Mahaprasthan and that she was still alive 
when thirty-eight years after the Kurukshetra 


Tudhishthira took leave of Subhadra with the 
words'^ keep m the path of Dharma or Right- 
eousness." So much for Mr. Khadilkar's drama 
which I have tried to sketch for Anglo-Indian 
readers. May I venture to hope that in some 
fdtnre play he will throw aside old traditions and 
use his undoubted talents to picture, without the 
aid of epic heroes, Indian life as it is ? I canaot 
leave the subject without a word of praise for 
Mr. Mali, the artist, who has furnished the printed 
copies* of '* A Woman's Revolt " with illus- 
trations. Although the dresses of Arjuna and 
Fushpadhanwa are Rajput court dresses of to-day 
and not such as Aryan heroes wore, and although 
the bridge which broke down as Satyamaya 
rushed across it has all the appearance of a 
P. W. D. culvert, these are little matters. The 
drawing of the figures, especially of the women, 
is excellent. 

• Bayakanche Band, by Mr. K. P. Ehadilkar, ^* Chitrashala Press;' 


To-day the Government offices are closed 
throughout the Presidency and the weary admi- 
nistrator will have time to seek solace in the latest 
masterpiece of Victoria Cross or Marie Corelli 
Before^ however, plunging into its delectable 
depths, it may not perhaps be without profit or 
uninteresting to consider why to-day is a holiday. 
It is the Mahashivratra, the greatest festival of 
Shiva, the present head of the Hindu triad. The 
Mahashivratra falls on the 14th day of the dark 
half of Magh and I have come across two stories 
told to explain why it does so. They are, of 
course, mere tales, but religious tales are always 
of interest and these porhaps especially so far 
they illustrate the peculiar Hindu doctrine that 
accidental acts whether of good or evil are as 
efficacious or as punishable as intentional ones. 

The first story is the common one. Once upon 
a time there lived in Modeshakhya town in 
Vaidarbha or Berar a wicked king and a worse 
minister. Both gave full scope to then* evil pas- 
sions, so that in their next life they became res- 
pectively a common hunter and a beast of prey. 
On the 14th Magh wadya the former was on a 


hunting expedition when he was suddenly attack- 
ed by the latter. To save himself the sportsman 
climbed a Bel— of all trees the most sacred to 
Shiva — and as the wild beast strove to clamber 
after him, he defended himself with one of its 
branches* In the struggle Bel leaves dropped 
both from the huDter's hand and the beast's mouth 
on to where in the sand beneath lay a hidden 
Shivaite pindi. Now the laying of a Bel leaf on 
a Shivaite pindi constitutes the offering dearest to 
Shiva. In an instant the sins of the two were 
forgiven and Shiva himself appeared in his fiery 
chariot and bore them away with him to his 
heaven in KaiMsa. In honour of this miracle the 
14th Magh wadya has been deemed to be the 
holiest of all Shiva's holy days. 

The second story is to be found in the Skanda 
Purdna and was told by the sage Shuk to Shounak 
and the other Bishis. Once upon a time there 
lived a king called Mitrasaha of the royal line of 
Ikshwaku who was learned above all men in the 
Shastras and the Yedas. His rule extended 
over the whole earth and its kings everywhere 
paid him tribute. One day King Mitrasahi while 
hunting fought with and slew a demon. The de- 
mon's brother witnessed the fight and thought 
how to get vengeance. He feared open battle 
lest he might meet his brother's fate. So he dis- 
guised himself as a cook and obtained employ- 
ment in King Mitrasaha's household. All went 
well until the shrddh anniversary of King Mit- 


rasaha^B father. A great feaet was prepared and 
as the demon surpassed in skiU all the other 
cooks^ he was entrusted with the preparation of 
the dinner. Among the guests was the sage 
Vasishta and in the food prepared for him the de- 
mon cook dexterously slipped some human flesh. 
Now Vasishta possessed besides his two eyes an 
inner eye of knowledge and with it he perceived 
that he had eaten human flesh. Furious, he 
cursed King Mitrasaha and condemned him to 
take the form of a man-eating demon. King Mit- 
rasaha protested that he knew nothing of the 
matter. Vasishta too learnt through his inner 
eye of knowledge that King Mitrasaha was not 
to blame. But the curse of a sage once spoken 
cannot be recalled. And all that King Mitrasaha 
could obtain was that the period of his demon- 
hood should be reduced to 12 years. Then com- 
pelled by the curse he assumed the guise of a 
man-eating rakshasa and went into the deep 
jungle. One day when roaming through the 
forest he met a Brahman and his wife gathering 
samidha. * Hungry, he at once seized the Brah- 
man and though the wife vainly begged for 
his life King Mitrasaha ate him up^ picked his 
bones clean and then went his way. The wife 
gathered together the bones, made them into a 

• A samidh (plurftly Samidha) i$ a twig of one ol the nine sacred 
trees with which it is alone permitted to make horn or sacred fire. 
The nine trees are Palas, Biij Fimpal, Shami, Ehair, nuTTa, narhht, 
Umbar and Aghada. 


pyre and burnt herself with them. As she burnt 
she cursed King Mitrasaha and her curse was that 
on his return to human shape he should die im- 
mediately after he had had any intercourse with 
women. Now King Mitrasaha had heard the 
wife's speech and on his return to human shape 
lived a life of perfect chastity and so evaded 
death. But the guilt of Brahman-hatya or Brah- 
man-killing pursued him and became incarnate 
as a Chandala woman who always danced before 
his eyes and before his eyes alone. Maddened 
by the sight of this mystic shape he threw 
aside his kingdom and going into the jungle 
sought the sage Gautama. Gautama said 
that there was but one way to obtam release, and 
that was to go to Gokama on the 14th Magh Na- 
dya and there worship Shiva. King Mitrasaha 
asked wherein lay the greatness of Gokama, 
and the merit of Magh Wadya Chaturdashi. The 
sage Gautama replied that on that day in the 
preceding year he had seen a hideous old Chan* 
dala woman lying on the ground and on the point 
of death when suddenly from heaven came the 
lord Shiva's fiery chariot. From it his messen- 
gers descended and placed in it the Chandalin. 
" I asked them," said the sage Gantama, ** the 
reason. They replied that the Chandalin was in a 
former life a Brahmin girl called Malini, and 
possessed beauty that put to shame even Eambha 
the fairest of the dancing girls of Indra. Her 



husband died while she was still young and for 
some days the precepts of her parents and the 
effects of their early teaching enabled her to 
triumph over temptations and desires. But her 
beauty was such that all men longed for her, and 
at last she yielded and so entered upon evil 
courses. Her parents found out her wickedness 
and dismissed her from their house. She then 
became the mistress of a Sudra and gave herself 
up unrestrainedly to the eating of meat and the 
drinking of wine. One day when she could 
obtain no meat she killed a young heifer and 
eating half of it escaped the neighbour's blame 
by crying out that a panther had killed it. She 
died not long afterwards and when her soul came 
to Yama's Court, Chitragupta's* record showed 
that she had committed gohatya^ and she was at 
once consigned to the blackest Hell. In her next 
life, she became a blind, leprous and filthy Chan- 
dala woman whom not even a Chandala would 
marry. To-day she was begging from the pil- 
grims to Gokarna, but all refiised her alms. At 
last, one pilgrim in derision placed a Bel leaf in 
her hand. In anger she threw it away and it 
fell on a hidden Shivaite pindi. Then the lord 
of Kailas' heart melted in pity for her, and he 
sent his chariot and his messengers to bear her 
away to his heaven. With these words the 
messengers and the chariot bore away the Chan- 
dala woman to the snowy mountain tops of Kai- 

* ChitragnpU is the recording angel. 


las. " Hearing the words of the sage Gautama, 
hope once more came to the heart of King Mitra- 
saha, and he made his way to Gokama, and on 
the 14th day of the Krishna or dark-half of 
Magh he fasted and each watch of the night he 
worshipped Shiva by placing on his holy pindi 
the leaves of the Bel tree. And the following 
day he fed Brahmins and gave gifts to the poor 
and the blind, and in this wise he too obtained 
the mercy of the lord Shiva. The image of the 
Ohandala woman faded from King Mitrasaha's 
eyes and he knew that he was freed from the 
most terrible of all sins that a man may commit — 
the sin of Brahmin-hatya or Brahmin murder. 



The day has in England long gone by when the 
wise saws and well-worn sayings of some time- 
honoured member of the family carried weight in 
a discussion. If one practised in ordinary con- 
versation the art of introducing happily rhyming 
proverbs, one would soon have no one left with 
whom to converse and beyond that of an intoler- 
able bore one would have achieved no other repu- 
tation. Yet two hundred years ago, things were 
different. The Squire Westerns whom Macaulay 
in the famous third chapter of his history describes 
as ruling with an iron rod their feudal domains, 
yet standing awestruck in the London Streets at 
the sight of the Lord Mayor's show, used the old 
English proverbs as the staple buttress of their 
arguments. One can imagine what a forncddable 
engine of oppresbion proverbs, such as 

A woman, a spaniel and a walnut tree 
The more you beat them the better they be ; 

and " Spare the rod, spoil the child " must have 
been when it wat considered almost impious ^to 


question the superior wisdom of one's fore- 
fathers. Indeed, I seem to have an unpleasant 
recollection in my own childhood of what then 
at any rate appeared to me to be a misuse of 
the latter aphorism. But the saws of Squire 
Western and the simples of his helpmeet have 
gone their way, and an English proverb now is 
hardly ever used, save to distort it into a 

Western India, however, has not yet reached 
the paradox stage of human development. And 
I have myself seen a happily applied proverb 
€lose more than once an intricate discussion, 
and an IndiaD proverb on a European's lips 
invariably fills a native audience with an 
immense and often excessive respect for his 
acquaintance with their language. Hereafter I 
may deal with the proverbs common amongst 
the Marathas. But in this chapter I shall con- 
fine myself to the Gujerati sayings of Kathia- 
war, which yields to no country in its appre- 
ciation of proverbial wisdom. I do not in- 
tend — ^far from it — ^to give an exhaustive list, 
but it may be of some interest to my readers 
to know which of the several hundred proverbs, 
which may be found in published collections 
are in ordinary conversation most commonly 

Sometimes, although rarely, Gujerati proverbs 
seem almost translations of the English equivalent 
such as " pareji ej uttam osad " (dieting is the best 


medicine), which is nearly a reproduction of" Diet 
cures more than the doctors/' So also *Mukhnu 
osad dahada'' (the cure for grief is days) — ^^ Time 
is the best healer." But more often the diflFerent 
conditions of life necessitate a different clothing 
for the same idea. We say *^ all that glitters is not 
gold." The Kathiwadi peasant says '^ all that is 
white is not milk" (dholu etalu dudh nahi). We 
say " a full purse never lacks friends." He says 
** on a green tree there are many parrots *' 
(lila wanna suda ghana). We say " penny wise 
and pound foolish " ; he says ^^ it is useless to 
plug up the sink pipe and leave the door open " 
(" khale ducha ne darwajo moklo"). Is there 
not an Irish story which points out the use- 
lessness of padlocking the gate when there are 
gaps in the hedge ? However to match " a 
bribe in the lap blinds the eyes," he also makes 
a reference to money " The sight of gold makes 
a saint wobble " (sonu dekhi muni chale). 

We who are an animal-loving nation make a 
considerable use of the domestic ones in our 
sayings. We say ** Don't count your chickens 
before they are hatched." The Kathiawadis 
say elliptically " Wheat in the field and the 
child in the womb" (ghau khetman ne beta 
petman). We say "Let sleeping dogs lie." 
They say "Do not rouse the sleeping snake" 
(sutelo sap jagadvo nahi). We say " We all 
think our own geese swans." They say " Chagan 
Magan's children are of gold, while every one 


else's are of dung." (Chagan magan to sona na 
ne parka chokra garana). We say **A crying 
crow bears bad news." They say ** A weeping 
man means a death " (roto jay te muvano samachar 
lave). On the other hand, animals are not whoUy 
absent from the Kathiawadis' proverbs. They say 
** To make an elephant out of an atom'' (rajnu gaj 
karavun) instead of " A mountain out of a mole- 
hill," and they have elaborated ^* Barking dogs do 
not bite," into " Barking dogs do not bite nor do 
thundering clouds rain " (bhasya kutta kate nahin 
ne gajya megh varse nahin). 

Some of the best Kathiawadi proverbs employ 
similes from the village trades. The proverb 
** A carpenter thinks of nothing but babulwood " 
(sutarnu ;;bovaliaman) may be translated 
** There is nothing like leather." On the other 
hand, we have no proverbial equivalent for " An 
idle barber shaves the footstools " (navro hajam 
patala munde), and must fall back on that terror o£ 
boyhood. Dr. Watts, for ^* Satan finds some mis- 
chief still for idle hands to do." Nevertheless 
excessive energy meets with approval in ^* puchh- 
tan puchhtan lanka javey " (by asking and 
asking one can get to Ceylon). That the village 
savkar is sometimes outwitted is proved by " Sehth 
kem tanano to ke labhe lobhe " (** How did the 
sheth come to grief? He was too clever by 
half.") The brief reign of the village cartman 
while he drives his cart finds expression in "we 
must sing the songs of the man in whose cart 



we sit (jene vele bessie tena git gale). It may 
be translated ^^who pays for the fiddler may 
call the tune." But the village tailor, who is 
mentioned by implication in ''Cut your coat 
according to your cloth '' receives no recognition 
in '' make your grass bed according to the sm 
of your body '^ (sod pramane satharo). 

As might have been expected, the conamon 
round of household duties provides proverbs in 
Gujerati as well as in English, although they are 
not necessarily similar in the two languages. '* A 
stitch in time saves nine" finds an equivalent m 
"Early plantains are really plantains" (velae 
male te tela). " It never rains but it pours " may 
be translated in two ways: — "When it rains it 
rains in the hedges '* (varse to vadma varse) or— 
and the second proverb gives the sense more ac- 
curately — " She went to look for her son and she 
lost her husband" (lene geie put or khoe aie kha- 
sam). The poor lady certainly deserved sympathy. 
So, too, did " the good wife who went to her father- 
in-law and got scolded by the unfaithful wife" 
(dahi sasare jay ane gandi shikhaman de) ! A 
proverb very typical of Indian home life is the 
following ** chas man makan jay ane rand furad 
kehevay" (when butter goes with the butter-milk 
the wife gets called a slut). The explanation is 
to be found in the Gujerati custom of distributing 
the butter-milk from which a large quantity of 
butter has been churned. The careful housewife 
is expected to see that her friends get nona of 


the butter ! Another proverb which also incul- 
cates, although sarcastically, the lesson that 
charity should begin at home is ** gharma chokra 
ghanti chate no upadhyaue ato '* (the children 
of the house lick the grinding mill while the 
spiritual teacher gets the flour). Had this saying 
been brought to the notice of the " Shepherd" 
in Rckwick he might have avoided serious 
trouble at the hands of Mr. Weller. *' The child 
is father of the man '* finds a mate in " the 
qualities of a son may be seen from his cradle " 
(putrana lakshan pabiamathi janay). The French 
fable of * Le pot de fer et le pot de terre ' may be 
pitted against "If the short man goes with the tall 
one, he may not die, but he will get very sick" 
(lamba jode tuko jay mare nahi pan mando thay). 
** A short life and a merry one " is rather neatly 
translated by " four days of moonlight " (char 
divasnu chandarnu), which in turn recalls Moore's 
refrain. ** The best of all ways to lengthen your 
days, is to take a few hours from the night, my 
dear." " A little pot is soon hot " is on the other 
hand more felicitous than ^' the weak man has 
a bad temper" (kamzor ne gusso bot); and 
" What the eye does not see the heart does not 
grieve " than *^ not to see is not to mourn " (dekh- 
vun nahi ne dajeun nahin). Yet we have noth- 
ing so good as " to a wooden god give a slipper 
as an offering (lakdana devne khasdani puja). 

Some of the Kathiawadi proverbs have, like 
some English ones^a deeper meaning than appears 


on the surface. ^' From afar the mountains are 
beautiful" (Dungaro durthi raliamuna) corre- 
ponds with ^^ Distance lends enchantment to the 
view." So also " As the father, so are the eons, 
and as the banian tree, so are*, the branches'' 
(Bap teva beta and wad teva teta) is a close match 
for " As the twig is bent so the tree is inclined,'^ 
'*Hope deferred maketh the heart sick " finds an 
equivalent in ^^the hope that rests on others is 
continual despair " (parki ash saday nirash). My 
official readers will probably after this wonder why 
that pest, the youthful candidate for office^ 
bothers them so frequently. An answer will, I 
think, be found in " Ap mua pacchi dub gaie dunia" 
(when I have died the world is drowned) a 
proverb which like Louis XV's "Apr6s moi le 
deluge '* must have emanated from an extremely 
self-centred person. 

I would, however, suggest an unfailing method 
to all those who are at a loss how to get rid of a 
wholly unqualified, but pertinacious, claimant. 
Ask him quietly if he has ever heard the story of 
the " Bavo and the soni.'* The tale runs that a 
certain Bavo or religious mendicant went to a 
goldsmith's shop and asked to be given a lump of 
gold. The soni began at length and with many 
interpolations of '* My dear, young friend " to 
explain that gold was a valuable thing and not to 
be given away in lumps. At last the Bavo got 
sick to death of the lecture and said " I knew all 
that, and I did not fancy you would give it to me. 


but I thought that there was no harm in asking.'^ 
As a reply to the question the candidate invari- 
ably grins feebly and makes for the door. Should 
a last spark of hope induce him to linger on the 
threshold and to enumerate his imaginary merits^ 
then fire him out with the proverb "Praised 
Elhijdi sticks ' to the teeth " (vakhanani Khijdi 
dante valge) and the disappointed one will, like 
Slipper in the adventures of an Irish R.M.^ 
** vanish like a dream." 


In the first chapter of this series I ventured to 
discuss some of the more common Eathiawadi 
proverbs. I would now place before my readers 
some of the wise sayings of the Deccan and they 
will probably be struck at the absence of that 
resemblance which they might have expected from 
the common origin of the two languages — Mara- 
thi and Guzarathi. 

A country so long under orthodox priestly rule 
as the uplands of the Sahyadris not unnaturally 
possesses several proverbs dealing with religion 
or with its ministers. The most delightful one to 
my mind is ^^ laksh pradakshina ani ek paisa 
dakshina." It means literally *' the going round 
the idol 100,000 times and at the end a gift of 
one pice as an offering to the Brahmins." We are 


ourselves not unacquainted with the type of reli- 
gious enthusiast who may be summed up in Mr. 
Lewis CarrolFs description of the Snark : 

* At charity meetings he stands at the door 
And colleots though he does not snbseribe/* 

^' Melya vanchun swarga disat nahin '* ( one 
cannot reach heaven without dying) expresses an 
idea similar to that in " II faut souffrir pour Stre 
beau " and we will probably all agree with the 
excellent maxim ^^jar man asel changa tar 
kathavatint Ganga '' (if your mind is pure, 
it is as good as having Ganges water in your 
platter), A very common proverb too of this class 
is ** bazarant turi bhat bhatnila mari " (the Brah- 
min beat his wife because of the turi (pulse) in the 
bazaar). The tale runs that a Brahmin priest who 
had by means foul or fair secured a little money 
wished to give himself a good dinner and direct- 
ed his wife to buy him some pulse in the bazaar. 
The question arose as to how the pulse should, 
when bought, be cooked, and an acrimonious dis- 
cussion terminated with the whacking of the 
unruly housewife. The proverb is ordinarily used 
in the same sense as * Don't count your chickens 
before they are hatched/ 

The animal kingdom, especially the donkey, 
finds a considerable place in Marathi aphorisms. 
^' Apale garje gadhava raje " (in our need we call 
an ass a king) may be rendered by ' necessity 
makes strange bedfellows. "Ghadhavaya pudhen 
wachali gita kalcha gondhal bara hota'^ ( if yoti 


read the Gita before an ass, he will think that 
yesterday's kick up was better fun). Well perhaps 
the ass was not quite so wrong, for have we not De 
LaRochefoucauld's authority for * Qui vit sans folie 
n'est pas si sage qu'il oroit ' ? Another proverb 
meaning also * Don't cast pearls before swine ' is 
"Gadhawas gulachi chav kay" ( an ass will have 
no relish for joggery). And the poor beast's 
proper occupation is laid down in *^ jyacha tyala 
and gadhva ojhayala *' ( the only use of an ass is 
to carry burdens). I have only discovered one say- 
ing which mentions the horse and that is the 
phrase "ghodya evadi chuk" (a mistake as big 
as a horse). The mistake must have been a real 
*' howler " and probably occurred in some youth- 
ftil subaltern's exercise for the Lower Standard 
Hindustani ! But there used to be a saying 
commonly used by grooms to their horses when 
they refused to drink '* Dhanaji wa Santaji panya 
madhayen tula distat kay" ( do you see Dhauaji 
and Santaji in the water). This saying had a 
great historical interest for it dated from the time 
when Dhanaji Jadav and Santaji Ghorpade were 
the terror of the Grand Army of Aurangzeb. The 
cow finds a place two or three times. " Gaine 
Gay phalat nahin" implies that one poor wretch 
cannot help another. Our vulgar saying * Its the 
poor as helps the poor' expresses a different 
point of view. ^'Salyachi gay ani malyache 
vasru " ( the weaver's cow and the mali's calf) im- 
plies that a clean sweep has been made of every- 


thing. Lastly, " Odhal gurun ani oehal bayako " 
means ^ a straying cow is like a shameless wife.' 
No doubt both suffer from the kakoethes vagandi 
The buffalo is honoured by the delightful maxim 
*^ Melia mhashi-la panch sher dudh " (the dead 
buffalo always gave five seers of milk.) It re- 
minds one of the story of the lady who when asked 
whether she had ever heard of any one who was 
absolute perfection, replied * constantly! she was 
my husband's first wife.' The jackal, the dog, 
the camel, the kid, the cat, the crocodile and the 
ant are honoured by a proverb a piece — " Kolha 
kakadila raji '' (a jackal is satisfied with a cucum- 
ber) may be rendered * Hunger is the best 
sauce.' ^' Andhala dalato aani kutra pit khato " 
(the blind man grinds and the dog eats the 
flour). This saying is generally used of a man 
whose brains have been sucked. "Untawaril 
shahana " (he who is on a camel is a wise man) 
has a story connected with it. A buffalo got its 
head into an earthen vessel and could not ex- 
tricate it without breaking the jar which he did 
not wish to do. All his friends gave him advice, 
but a man riding on a camel suggesting cutting 
off the buffalo's head and thereby saving the 
vessel. The phrase is used of a foolish busy 
body : " Jogyache karde ladke " (a yogi's kid 
is like a daughter to him). So also we use the 
Biblical phrase * one ewe lamb.' "Manjaras undir 
«aksh" — a mouse as witness for a cat — implies that 
a servant must give evidence as his master pleases 


and that therefore his testimony is worthless. 
The crocodile is to be found in "Susarbai tujhi 
pat phar mau " (0 ! , lady crocodile, your back 
is very soft). The idea is that by thus flattering 
the crocodile she may be induced safely to 
carry you across the river in which she lies. 
Safely on the other side you send her about 
her business with a good kick in the stomach. 
Lastly, the elephant and the ant find a place 
in ** mungi houn sakhar khavi ; pan hatti houn 
lakde khaun nayet " (It is all very well for 
an ant to eat sugar, but an elephant should not 
live on sticks) ; in other words, one must live 
according to one's station. This idea finds more 
comic expression in " nesen tar shalu nesen, 
nahitar nagvi basen " (If I wear clothes I shall 
put on cloth of gold, if not I shall sit with * no- 
dings on'). The gender shews that the speaker 
was a lady. 

The time-honoured maxim * Spare the rod and 
spoil the child' finds an equivalent in — "Chhadi 
lage chhum chhum vidya yei ghum ghum" — 
which we may translate in the following couplet : 

" The more the urchins feel the whacks 
The more their little brains they'U tax. " 

The following three proverbs have their humo- 
rous side : ^' Doi dharala tar bodaka, hati dharala 
tar rodaka" (If you try to catch him by the 
head you will find that he has shaved it ; if you 
catch his hand it will be so thin as to slip through 
your fingers). The person alluded to must have 


been as elusive as Mr; Balfour, when many years 
ago the late Sir William Harcourt described him 
as* slippery as an eeL' "Jyaohi lage chad to 
ude tad mad" (he who is sought after holds him- 
self as high as a toddy palm or a cocoanut tree) 
describes the condition known in America as a 
badly swollen head. Lastly, "gajrachi pungi 
wajli tar wajli nahitar khaun takli " (if you can 
play a tune on a carrot well and good, if you faU 
you can always eat it) expresses the same idea 
as the well known Irish saying *^ Be aisy and if 
you can't be aisy, be as aisy as you can." I must 
however confess that an attempt to play a tune on 
this vegetable would almost be as good an illustra- 
tion of nonsense as that of the youthful essayist 'it 
would be nonsense, Sir, to bolt a door with a 
boiled carrot.' 

Two somewhat sad proverbs are "Daiv dete pao 
karm nete (the gods give but karma takes away) 
and ** Dushkalacha terava mahina " (a famine 
year has always thirteen months). The first 
because it expresses the terrible idea that no 
matter how we strive we cannot escape the punish- 
ment of sins committed in a former existence. 
And the second because it alludes to the endless 
waiting until the next year's monsoon comes to 
relieve the kunbi's suffering. 

Here are two sayings which must respectively 
have been invented by a pessimist and an opti- 
mist. The first is "Udima hiiritan sola bar a sheta 
karitan doivar bhara" (If you trade you will get 


12 annas for every 16 (spent ) and if yon till yon 
will have to carry loads on your head). The second 
runs " G6d kamn khaven man karnn nijaven (If 
it is not sweet make it so and if your bed is not 
soft make it so). Then come two which must have 
emanated from a cynic "Labhapekshanbholyachi 
asha" "The fool's hopes exceed (possible) gain" 
and bara koshavar pans, shivecha rant, panivathya- 
chi ghagar. (There are 3 things very difficult to 
get, the rain falling 24 miles away, the village 
headman and the jar you left at the watering place.) 
Here is a proverb which shows how wel* beggars 
fare in kindly India " Bhikeshwar kinva Lankesh- 
war '\ " It is best to be the king of the beggars 
and next best to be king of Lanka/' «>., Eldorado, 
for when Ravan ruled there the bricks were all of 
gold. Then there are two which inculcate homely 
prudence " Bail gela ni zhopa kela (He built a 
shed after his ox had gone), i.e.j do not lock the 
stable after the horse has bolted. "Pudhchyas 
thech magcha shahana (The one behind may 
profit by the tripping of the man in front). 

Here is one very amusing one — 

Panya madhyen znasa 
Zhop gheto kasa 
Javen tyacbya vansha 
Tewban kale, 

I have translated it as follows : — 

Let him yrho^d learn how 'tis that sleep 

Cometh to little fishes 
Become a fish and swim the deep 

Be^ll learn then when he wishes. 



I have in vain sought for proverbs in which the 
English are the subject of adverse comment, and 
this might be taken to heart by those who believe 
that Poena is full of sedition and seditious people. 
But, I believe, that sometimes in the streets one 
may hear little girls sing the following nursery 
rhyme that dates from the days of the conquest :— 

Hattichya sonde vaii 
Theveli menbutti 
Sarya Panyachi keli matti 
Ingrejani, Ingrojani t 

It has little or no meaning, for what connection 
there is between the elephant and the English, 
takes some thinking out. However, such as it is, 
I translate it as follows: — 

Upon the elephant^s tiank now pways 

the himp— and 1 the pity, 
The English and the English ways 
Have ruined Poona City! 


It is usually supposed that the language of the 
Parsees is ordinary Gujarati, and, no doubt, in 
recent years, there have been great and successful 
efEorts on behalf of Parsees with literary tastes to 
equal the purity of style attained by the Gujarati- 
speaking Hindus. But the great bulk of the 
Parsee community speak a dialect which has 
marked peculiarities and varies as much from the 


Gujarati of Eathiavad as Milanese does from 
Tuscan. And to this dialect the older members 
adhere with a certain pride and resent the use of 
what they call ^^ bania's lingo." As an instance 
of this, I may mention, that a leading Parsee bar- 
rister whose children had been educated at Rajkot, 
told me that when his son visited his aunt she 
said with some asperity "are tune sun thayun ; tu 
wania jevo bolech/' (What on earth has happened 
to you, you are talking like a bania !) In this 
Parsee dialect have grown up a number of proverbs, 
many of which would be quite unintelligible to a 
Hindu. In the course of this paper I propose to 
deal with the sayings of this strange community 
who for many centuries have lived together with, 
yet apart from, their Hindu neighbours. I will 
not guarantee that all the ensuing aphorisms are 
peculiar to the Parsees, although many of them 
are. But all of them are commonly used by 
Parsees even if some are not unknown to the 
Hindus also. 

The most remarkable trait in these Parsee pro- 
verbs is the bitterness with which the rival towns 
— ^Bombay, Bulsar, Cambay, Surat, Navsari and 
Broach — speak of each other. This enmity be- 
tween commercial cities is not, however, unknown 
in Europe. Here is a proverb that must be ex- 
tremely galling to Surati pride, * kiun Surati ? to be 
murvat ki murti ' (What a Surati ! then (you see) 
the image of a shameless man). It is the ladies, 
however, who come in for the severest abuse. The 


next two proverbs are really delightftiL The first 
is said by a Bombay lady of a Broach woman. 

^'Bhamohi Bbaji chapre chapre nachi, 

So chhana baera pan khicbii to kachi ne kachi.^^ 

(the Broach woman jumped from roof to roof, and 
although a hundred cow-dung cakes were burnt 
yet the khichri remained uncooked). In other 
words, she was a wanton slut. The sting of the 
gibe is in the words "baera" and "kachi ne kachi," 
which are Broach colloquialisms. The Broach 
woman, however, rose to the occasion and retorted 
"Mumbai ni modan ghere gher ni Dhoban" 
(The great lady from Bombay is the washer- 
woman of every house). This is a hit at the 
Europeanised Parsee ladies who go out to tea-par 
ties and then, so it is implied in the proverb, talk 
scandal. The word "dhoban '* has much the same 
sense as our expression, " to wash one's dirty linen 
in public.'' The Surat lady is again the victim in 
the following : ('' Surat ni nari evi sari ke khun 
karine kutwa chali)'* (The Surat woman is so 
good that she will commit murder and then at the 
ensuing funeral be the loudest mourner present!). 
The weak points of the Cambay, Broach, Surat and 
Navsari ladies find expression in the following :— 

Ebambatan kbodiyan ne Bharuchi chadiyan 
Suratan fankri ne Nosakri Aakri. 

(The Cambay woman is ill-made, the Broach wo- 
man is a tell-tale, the Surat woman is a flirt and 
the Navsari woman is hot tempered). I am told 
that the only reason why Navsari was let off so 
lightly was because it is the home of the priests 


of whom the couplefc-maker, perhaps, stood in awe. 
However, if the rival townsmen said hard things 
of each others' ladies they were quite ready to 
lavish praise on themselves. The following pro- 
verb was written by a Bulsar man of Bulsar : — 

Wadnn gam te Valsad saghla gamna taran 

^Taraioman Eahanjl ne Vanioman Naran.*^ 

(Bulsar is the mighty city, the salvation of all 
other cities. Among the Parsees we have our Ka- 
hanji, and among the Banias we have our Naran.) 
This reminds one of the old Athenian saying that 
a Corinthian could never travel without for ever 
talking of ** dios Korinthos " (glorious Corinth). 
And did not Bemier, who saw Delhi in its heydey, 
contrast it unfavourably with the splendours of 
Paris as seen from the Pont Neuf ! 

A number of Parsee proverbs deal with the 
never-dying feud between the mother-in-law and 
the daughter-in-law. For the * belle-m^re ' of 
Parsee tradition is, as she is among Hindu families, 
not the wife's but the husband's mother. Here is a 
delightful one. 

Dinie bandhyan dahi 

Jilue tani chhas 
Gnlie tavynn ghi 

Ne Sasaji jame khas. 

(Dini prepared the curds, Jilu the butter-milk, 
Guli cooked the ghee, and then the mother-in-law 
had a rare good meal). 

A similar hit at the mother-in-law's gluttony is 
to be found in the following : — 

'* Jnar dali aher ne git gaya ter 
Sasae maki lotli to ankbe aya pher/^ 


(She (the daughter-in-law) ground a seer of jowari 
and while doing bo sang thirteen songs. (But) 
the mother-in-law gave her only one chapatti and 
she (the daughter-in-law) felt quite giddy with 
hunger). The poor thing! 

The point of the thirteen songs may puzzle 
some of my readers. It lies in the fact that all 
Indian women sing while grinding grain, and this 
finds expression in the Marathi proverb " jatyavar 
baslyas git athavte ** (one remembers songs while 
sitting at the grinding mill). The point of the 
passage is that the poor daughter-in-law sat so 
long grinding that she was able to sing thirteen 
songs from beginning to end ! 

Tet another saying against the mother-in-law is 
to be found in. 

* Mari Sasn evi bholi 

Ee nahi dekbade diwali ke holi. 

(My mother-in-law is so good that she will not 
show me either diwali or holi). It is scarcely 
necessary to remark that the word good is meant 
^^ sarcastic." But in fairness to the mother»in-law, 
it should be added, that an old-fashioned Hindu 
Holi festival is not the best place for a young 
married woman f 

Another rather amusing saying is ^^ Sasu bhange 
te kahaleda ne wahu bhange te thikra'' (Wheo- 
ever the mother-in-law breaks anything it is only 
"Kahaleda,'' but whenever the wife breaks any- 
thing it is a '' thikra'O. " Kahaleda'' and " thikra " 
are earthen pots of which the " thikra*' is the more 


expensive. The meaning is that the mother-in-law 
minimises her own faults and exaggerates her 
daughter-in-law's and to use Butler*s words : 

'' Componnds for sins she is inclined to 
By damning those she has no mind to.*^ 

After all these nasty remarks at the mother-in- 
law's expense, it is not surprising to be told that 
when a mother-in-law dies then the daughter- 
in-law attains happiness, ( sasu giyi savarat ne 
vahune avi navarat.) 

There are some proverbs, however, which take 
the side of the step-mother and the mother-in-law. 
Here are one or two. ** Sat sok par jaje pan be 
savka por na jati" (Be if you like) the seventh 
wife of your husband, but do not enter a house 
where there are even two step-children!) ** Sasu 
khadhi sasaro khadho, khadho gherjamai ne bar 
gamna gadheda khadba, to be nahin dharai" 
(She (the wife) ate up (talked to death), her 
mother-in-law, her father-in-law, her son-in-law 
and all the donkeys of twelve villages and she is 
not yet satisfied — (i.e. goes on talking—). ) We 
might compare the English saying sometimes used 
of an old woman. ** She would talk thehindleg off 
a donkey." Then again **satwa seta ne barni 
patli, vahune chatar palang ne Sasune khatli." 
The first line is meaningless and like the ** Ding- 
dong Dell '' •* Hickery Diokery-Dock " of our nur- 
sery rhyme is simply introduced for jingle. The 
last line is expressive, " The wife has a European 
bedstead with mosquito curtains, while the mother- 


in-law has a little native cot." The mother-in-law 
like the lady of the Rhine, felt no doubt the 
' spretae injuria formae.' 

The mother-in-law is not the only victim. 
Here is one that must excite avuncular disgust. 
^^ Eaka mama kehevana ne ganthe hoi te levana ^' 
(you must call them kaka (paternal uncle) and 
mama (maternal uncle) but they will rob you of 
everything you have). The word " gantha '' 
is the knot at the end of the scarf in which natives 
usually carry their money. The paternal grand- 
mother is chastised in the following : — ^^^Mamai 
ankhman samai, bapai chulie kapai." (The 
mother's mother is the apple of my eye, but I could 
cut up father's mother with a mutton chopper). 

If we leave the subject of relatives we find a 
number of other amusing proverbs. " Latko 
matko ne soparino katko '^ (full of flirting and 
coquetry and worth a bit of betelnut). The lady 
to whom this was applied must have resembled 
the heroine of Burns' original version of "coming 
through the rye." 

Some sayings illustrate certain national peculia* 
rities. It is said that some Parsees are in the 
habit of saying " Shu, shu " ** what, what '* just 
as in English one hears " what?'* frequently added 
without cause to the end of a sentence. The 
retort to such a misuse of language is crushing. 

*' Shui shana bacha ne lasanni kali, 
Tari Sasa gadhere chadi.^ 


(What, whats' chfldren and a piecse of garlic, 
your mother-in-law rode on an ass.) The point of 
this polite observation is that in Musalman times 
unchaste women were made to ride with inked 
features on a donkey and face tailwards. One 
might compare with this, the French saying used 
to little boys when they say *'Quoi?'' instead 
of the politer " comment ?" '* Quoi, quoi, les cor- 
beaux sont dans les bois." 

The custom indicated in the following pro- 
verb is that of old-fashioned Parsees who, in- 
variably when asked after their health, reply 
that they are feeling rather poorly, just as an 
English peasant will always say that he has the 
" rheumatiz.'* 

'' Sasu kanse, vahu karanje ne pal palina 
petman dukhe, ne varo to jetio ne tetlo uthe.'* 
(The mother-in-law groans, the wife moans, the 
maid servant has a pain in her stomach but the 
amount of food consumed never varies). 

Personal peouharities are the subject of some 
proverbial comment. " Baro bohetar lakhanvalo '* 
(the squint-eyed man has 72 tricks) and " thutha- 
ni rand ne thamko bhari" (a cripple's mistress 
walks with great airs and graces). The blind- 
man and the one-eyed share the following pro- 
verb. "Andhlo hikmati ane kano kepheyati" (A 
blind man is foil of tricks and a one-eyed man 
full of dodges). This idea of the wiliness of the 
one-eyed man seems universal in India. Colonel 
Tod mentions the belief as strongly rooted in 



Rajastban, and it finds expression in the following 
Kathiawadi proverb : — 

Kanio nar kok sadha 

Talio nar kok nirdhan 
Ebokhad danta kok morkha 

Danta kok mijbra 

(A one-eyed is rarely a saint, a bald man is rarely 
poor, a man with projecting teeth is rarely a fool 
and a man with grey eyes is rarely generous). 

I tried hard, but in vain, to discover the grounds 
why these particular qualities were associated 
with these peculiarities. As a matter of fact, this 
arbitrary association is not entirely confined to the 
East. I have seen used by M. Armand Silvestre 
the phrase **I1 riait comme un bossu " %.e. he was 
laughing outrageously. And yet it is difficult to 
understand why the mirth of a hump-backed man 
should be so wholly unrestrained. 


I have now come to the last of this series — the 
proverbial sayings of the Musulmans. It is no 
doubt true that in no part of the Western Presi- 
dency is Musulmani the spoken language of the 
bulk of the people. Nevertheless there live, scat- 
tered from Cutch to Kanara, countless Mahome- 
dan families who talk amongst themselves some or 
other dialect of Hindustani, and here and there 
may be found aristocratic groups whose Urdu may 


well compete with that of Delhi or Lucknow. 
Hindustani, moreover, from its former place in the 
mouths of Northern rulers has acquired a peculiar 
position as the medium between the master and 
the servant. A well-known Parsi pleader men- 
tioned to me that his father preferred to talk 
Hindustani to his Ahmedabadi servants, although, 
the mother tongue of master and man was Guja- 
rati. He found that they better obeyed his orders 
when delivered in the former tongue. Hindustani 
has similarly descended as an appendage of 
Baber's empire to the English rulers. English 
ladies use no other tongue in Indian households. 
Every day in Bombay carriages are ordered in a 
strange jargon, which, if not Hindustani, is cer- 
tainly nothing else. Thus, if for no other reason, 
Hindustani may claim a place among Western 
Indian tongues^ as the language of the Mogal 
and the memsahib of the " fortiter in modo " and 
the *^ fortissime in re." 

I must, however, forestall criticism by admitting 
that in many of the proverbs which follow the 
grammar and the wording are not that of Delhi. 
I have collected Musulmani sayings as I have 
heard them, and if I were to alter their phrasing 
they would no longer belong properly to Western 
India. On the other hand, some of the proverbs 
are almost pure Persian and should satisfy the 
highest of high proficiency scholars, 

I shall begin with a very pretty aphorism 
which expresses in poetical form the common 


Fr^ch saying ** les grands hommes les grands 
soucis les petits hommes les petits soucis/ 

Boire bnrre ko dakh bai 
Chote 86 dnkh dnr 
Tare sab nyare rahe 
Grabe obandra am sor 

I have translated it as follows : — 

He knows not bappy, hnmble one 

Wbat great men^s sorrows are. 

Eclipses darken moon and sun 

And spare tbe lowly star. 

But most of the Musulmani proverbs which I 
have met contain merely plain household truths. 
^* Nach na jane angan terha ' [(the dancing girl) 
who cannot dance (complains that) the courtyard 
is crooked] may be translated " a bad workman 
quarrels with his tools/' Our proverb ^^ speech is 
silvern, silence is gold '' finds expression in two 
Hindustani sayings * sabse barri chup' (silence is 
the greatest of all things.) " Ek chup aur hazar 
sukh " (one silence and a thousand comforts). 
And it may possibly be in unconscious recognition 
of tte advantages of silence that the indignant 
Englishman is for ever saying to his Aryan 
brother ** Chup raho ! " " Where there's a will 
there's a way '' finds a neat equivalent in ** marzi 
ho to sab kuchh hai,'' *' If there is a will then 
there is everything/' and " ittifak kuwvat hai *' is 
a literal rendering of * union is strength,' *^ Aw- 
wal sonch pechi bol"— *' Listen first and speak 
afterwards" contains no doubt sound advice. 
But in opposition to it may be quoted the Gujarati 
saying ** lat pacchi wat" — " kick him first and 


take his explanation afterwards,^' and the latter 
will probably commend itself to the " strong 
officer ! ' , Kathki handia ekhi dafa charhti hai — ^^ 
**a wooden pot can only be placed on the fire once," 
is a rather subtle way of saying that an impostor 
is soon found out, and that honesty is the best 

An amusing equivalent for *^ do not count your 
chickens before they are hatched " is to be found 
in *^ sut na kapas koihuse lath tham latha " (he 
quarrelled with his spinning wheel before he had 
bought either cotton or yarn), naturally the result 
was disaster. A delightfully elliptical phrase is 
the following: **In tilon men tel nahin'' (In 
those sesamum seeds there is no oil)." It is used 
when a beggar tries in vain to get money from a 
miser and learns too late that it is useless to try to 
tap that Pactolus ! Another reference to a miser is 
found in the following, ^* damri ki barhai taka sir 
mundai " " he defended himself from the charge 
of not providing a barber for his mother by saying 
why should I pay a 'taka' (1 pice) for shaving the 
head of an old woman who is only worth a 
' damri' (half a pie)| " The mother-in-law does 
not receive in Hindustani proverbs — the wholesale 
abuse showered on her by the Parsees and Guj- 
aratis. But the following saying, frequently used 
to the young wife, when she quarrels with her 
husband's mother hardly gives a flattering idea of 
her nature. " Darya men rahna aur magar machch 
se byr" (To live in the sea and to have enmity with 


the magar machch). It is impossible accurately 
to translate ^^ magar macbch " for it is applied 
indiscriminately to any dangerous aquaceous or 
amphibious animal. And if one complains to an 
Indian of the bewildering looseness of such an ex- 
pression he will sooner or later give one politely 
to understand that for his part it is a matter of 
indifference whether any particular beast is a 
shark, a whale, an alligator or a hippopota- 

^^Dadh ka jala chach phunk phunk kar pita hai" 
(He who has been scalded by milk blows repeatedly 
on buttermilk before he will drink it) is the Hin- 
dustani rendering of the Kathiavadi proverb " sap- 
no karadyo dhori thi bhie." (He who has been 
bitten by a snake is afraid of a piece of rope). 
Both may be translated as ^^ A burnt child dreads 
the fire.'* It is, however, difficult to give a concise 
rendering of "Mitha hap hap karwa thu thu." It 
means that things when sweet were gobbled up 
but when bitter spat out. The saying is as a rule 
used to a servant who did not grumble until things 
went badly or of a friend who deserted one when 
trouble came. Perhaps the nearest English 
equivalent would be "rats leave a sinking ship." 

From among so many household proverbs the 
household animals are not omitted. '^Billi ki khwab 
men chichre." (In the cat's dreams figure mutton 
scraps). By day, however, the cat seems to be 
over-sensitive to ridicule **Khisayni billi khamba 
noche" (a cat that has been laughed at scratches the 


door-post). The dog finds a place in the two 
following proverbs "choti kutti jalebiyan ki 
rakhwali '* (it is no use appointing the little dog as 
a guard over the sweetmeats); and " damri ki handia 
gaikutte ki zat pahchhan'* (only a worthless pot 
was lost and the dog's nature was recognised). The 
latter saying is employed when some servant's 
fraud has been detected at little cost and the mas- 
ter is ^^ well rid of a rogue." 

Nor is the snake^ the household enemy, over- 
looked : " sanp nikal gaya lakir pita karo." (The 
snake has gone, so why puzzle your head about 
its trail). This proverb has somewhat the same 
meaning as ** it is no use shutting the stable door 
after the horse has been stolen"; and the derivative 
expression " lakir ka fakir " a man who follows the 
trail rather than the snake is applied to a blind de- 
votee of ancient rather than modern learning. The 
carrion kite may, in India, almost be called a house- 
hold animal and there is no questioning the truth 
of the following " chil ke ghonsle men mas kahan" 
(you will not find meat in a carrion kite's nest). 
Lastly, the elephant is the hero of a somewhat 
striking aphorism ** Hathi ke dant dikhane ke aur 
hain, khane ke aur hain " (an elephant has one set 
of teeth for show and another for use). This say- 
ing is curiously enough used of a hypocrite and 
recalls the biting jest that was made of the shifty 
and treacherous Duke of Anjou. He was the 
French Henry HFs brother and small-pox had left 
him with two tips to his nose. But as an enemy 


observed " Un prince qui avait deux faces devrait 
bien avoir deux nez." 

Some other Hindustani proverbs are merely 
amusing while some indicate the national charac- 
teristics of the Indian Musulman. Among the 
former are *^ khud andha aur aftab siyah *' (blind 
himself he calls the sun black); ^* nange se khuda 
khof rakhta hai " (God even is afraid of the shame- 
less man) ; *^ Tum ham razi, to kya kare kotwal aur 
kazi '* (If you and I agree, what harm can the 
kotwal and the kazi do us). In other words, 
it is better to keep out of chancery. " Bare 
bhai so bare bhai, chote bhai so subhan Allah" 
is a phrase not infrequently applied to brothers 
born in the purple. It may be translated — 
The elder brother, well what can you expect 
of an elder brother ; and the younger brother 
well, God be praised ! Arcades ambo id est 
black guards both! Among the second class are 
"jaldi ka kam shaitan ka" (To do work quickly 
is of the devil). Undue haste is hateful to the 
slow and rather pompous Islamite, whose love of 
vain show is indicated in the two following say- 
ings. " Makan men ata nahin aur amma puriya 
pakati hai " (There is no flour in the house but 
mamma pretends she is making cakes) ; " Das 
ghar mangna lekin masalchi rakhna" (To beg at 
ten houses and yet keep a servant). 

One more saying and I have done. I write it 
with some reluctance, nevertheless I trust that my 
Poena readers will accept my assurance that it is